Facility to be National Model for Inclusion and Healthy Living


GRAND RAPIDS, MI., July 24, 2014 –The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids announced today that it has received approval from the Cascade Township Board to move forward with plans to build a new Y to replace the existing Southeast YMCA in Grand Rapids Township. A groundbreaking will take place in September with a grand opening planned for fall 2015.

The new 116,200-square-foot LEED-Certified Y will be located on a 36-acre parcel of land on the southwest corner of Kraft and Burton. The Y will be a “center for collaboration” that will incorporate traditional Y health and wellness activities and programs with a one-of-a-kind universal design aimed at an integrated facility to collectively serve the needs of the able-bodied and individuals with disabilities.  It will also house a Healthy Living Center dedicated to innovating community solutions to empower individuals to live well.

The new $30 million Y will replace the oldest YMCA in the Grand Rapids area. The current 29,900-square-foot facility is located on a land-locked, 11-acre site that does not provide the space needed to expand the existing facility or meet the needs for outdoor sports fields and activities.

“This day has been a long time coming as we have actively worked for years to find property to build a new Y to better serve the Southeast community,” said Ron Nelson, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids. “We are thrilled to have the approval we need to move forward with this important project and are grateful to the Cascade Township Board, Planning Commission, and community at large for their support and enthusiasm to have a Y of this caliber located in Cascade Township.”

“This will be more than just another Y branch, but rather a facility that reflects our leadership among both the YMCA’s nationally and the broader health and wellness movement.  We’re debuting a new Y model; a destination campus for collaboration, designed specifically for innovation and inclusion.  The new location will include our traditional facility features, but also feature unique programs focused healthy living, active aging, and youth leadership to expand the impact we can have on our members, program participants and the broader West Michigan community.”

Universal design describes the concept of designing products and environments to be usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, both able bodies and individuals with disabilities. The new Southeast YMCA will feature a 36 acre campus, the centerpiece of which will be a fully accessible and integrated health and wellness facility. The facility will feature an indoor aquatics center, sports courts, group fitness classrooms, state-of-the-art fitness area, indoor track, a teaching kitchen, greenhouse, and learning classrooms. The campus will also feature an outdoor sports complex that will include sports fields and tennis courts, as well as an activity trail, a children’s playground, wheelchair softball field, and a farm-to-table program, including a community garden on-site.

“To say this new facility will be a significant upgrade to the current one is an understatement.  It will be like no other YMCA in the country and will stand as a model for collaboration and inclusion – one of the Y’s core values, for others to follow,” said Nelson.

Progressive AE is serving as the architect on the project and Rockford Construction will manage the construction.


About the Y
The Y is West Michigan’s leading nonprofit strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.  Through its seven branches, Camp Manitou-Lin, and over 23 program sites, the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids is committed to improving the health and well-being of children and families.  Y programs impact thousands of lives annually and respond to unique community needs across West Michigan.