With fundraising still underway, work on a year-and-a-half renovation on the New Canaan YMCA started unofficially last weekend with a groundbreaking ceremony.

“New Canaan is a great place but this is going to make it even more special,” New Canaan YMCA Executive Director Craig Panzano said.

Panzano, who has been at the Y for 11 years, recalled the planning efforts that went back a decade to define a renovation which would meet the full needs of the Y’s 10,000 members.

“Thanks to all our donors from a dollar to a million dollars, there are too many of you,” Panzano said. “What we really look forward to is making a difference in peoples’ lives, the tall and small, young and old, the haves and have-nots, whatever gender, color, or special need they may have.”

The two-year project with a construction cost of $14 million will include new and renovated locker rooms, a new full gym double the size of the current space, a new family movement and activity center, renovated wellness areas, a new café, and an intergenerational family center.

Work on the project started recently with the shutdown of the YMCA’s swimming pool, which is to be renovated to be part of a larger Aquatics Center with a new 12-lane competition pool and a new warm pool facility.

The project is scheduled to be finished in April 2017.

Peter Skaperdas, president of the YMCA’s Board of Directors, said the renovation and expansion is a continuation of the expanded sphere of programs the YMCA has developed in the past decade touching on wellness, cancer recovery, and other areas to establish it as more than a place to work out and swim.

“I think we’ve accomplished that and we’re going to accomplish a lot more once this renovation is done,” Skaperdas said. “I may be biased but I think the New Canaan YMCA is the crown jewel of this community, and it will shine even brighter in 18 months when this project is done.”

The contractor on the project is A&P Construction of Stamford.

The New Canaan YMCA is a 501(c) 3 organization and service organization which last year awarded nearly $400,000 in direct financial assistance through providing programs to residents.

Officials did not comment on how much had been raised toward the $18 million fundraising goal of the project, but said fundraising is continuing.