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New Canaan YMCA unveils plan for big expansion

Published 10:56 am, Thursday, October 17, 2013
  • Plans are underway for a major renovation of the New Canaan YMCA. Its two pools, which were built in the 1960s and 70s, will be replaced by updated facilities. Oct. 10, 2013. New Canaan, Conn. Photo: Tyler Woods / New Canaan News
    Plans are underway for a major renovation of the New Canaan YMCA. Its two pools, which were built in the 1960s and 70s, will be replaced by updated facilities. Oct. 10, 2013. New Canaan, Conn. Photo: Tyler Woods

 

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The New Canaan YMCA is preparing to submit plans for a major rebuilding at its South Avenue facility.

The organization plans to add 13,000 square feet to the building, a 29 percent increase, by replacing its pools and locker rooms and reorganizing other spaces for basketball, yoga, child care and wellness.

"The board decided several years ago to address the second half of the building, which has failing parts of it and failing infrastructure," YMCA Executive Director Craig Panzano said.

The two pools at the YMCA were built in 1964 and 1977, and the locker rooms have consistently been a top priority among members for improvements, he said.

"In order to bring it up to standard, it's a little bigger, but within town regulations and setbacks," Panzano said of the expanded building.

The front part of the building was renovated in 2003. With the proposed renovations, the footprint of the building will increase from 45,000 square feet to 58,000 square feet, mostly extending from the rear of the building.

The organization will submit its plans to the Planning and Zoning Commission at its Tuesday, Oct. 22, meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the New Canaan Nature Center. The Y is hosting an on-site open house at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at 564 South Ave. to share its plans with the public and to answer questions.

Panzano hopes that construction can begin in June 2014, with an expected completion date of Jan. 2016. But that's only possible with the financial support of the YMCA's backers. Panzano said the organization needs to raise between $16 million and $20 million for the completed project, which it will do through a capital campaign over the next several months.

The YMCA is anticipating some resistance from the community on the project, but hopes to bring neighbors on board by including their opinions on the aesthetics of the building, Panzano said. He also said he would try to schedule construction so that it does not coincide with the hours when students are arriving and leaving school. The YMCA sits just down the street from the trio of Saxe Middle, South Elementary and New Canaan High schools.

"We'd be trying to get trucks in when kids are not going to school and have a safety plan," he said.

twoods@bcnnew.com; 203-330-6582; @Woods_NCNews