YMCA-College Task Force to Study YMCA Community Sports Center on Genesee Community College's Batavia Campus

A six-member task force will examine the feasibility of constructing a YMCA Community Sports Center on Genesee Community College's Batavia Campus, Genesee/Wyoming YMCA Executive Director Wess Audsley and Genesee President Stuart Steiner announced yesterday.

The Task Force will focus on the addition or expansion of programs that cannot be accommodated in the YMCA's present facility on Main Street in Batavia. The Y does not plan to move any of its present facilities to the Batavia Campus. The College would not be involved in the construction of the new building. Instead, the College would accelerate the implementation of its Facilities Master Plan by leasing space in the new building for such services as a wellness center. This lease arrangement is successfully used in Warsaw, where the College and the YMCA share facilities in that community.

As it is being conceived, the YMCA Community Sports Center would contain space for indoor field sports such as soccer and lacrosse, indoor court sports such as basketball and volleyball, space for gymnastics and cheerleading, a fitness component, and possible space for Genesee Community College athletic activities. The Task Force will help the YMCA and College determine whether community demand for a sports center exists, and how such a center would be financed and built.

Members of the YMCA Community Sports Center Task Force include Larene Hoelcle, Genesee's Vice President for Human Resources and Planning; Marcia H. Noonan, Vice Chair of the College's Board of Trustees; and Patrick E. Richey, Genesee's Vice President for Finance and Operations. Representing the YMCA will be Joseph Teresi, Vice President of the Genesee/Wyoming YMCA Board of Directors; Timothy Hens, Genesee/Wyoming YMCA board member; and Andrea Aldinger, Development and Public Relations Director for the Genesee/Wyoming YMCA. Other members may be added after the Task Force's first meeting and a number of subcommittees could be established as well. The Task Force is expected to issue a report and recommendations by December 31, 2005.

The model for the YMCA Community Sports Center grew out of the successful partnership between the YMCA and the Genesee Community College in Warsaw, according to Mr. Audsley and Dr. Steiner. Two and a half years ago, the Wyoming County YMCA opened on Linwood Avenue in Warsaw with an "academic wing" specifically constructed for Genesee Community College classes offered in that community. "We serve many of the same people," Mr. Audsley said. "It made sense for our two organizations to locate services in the same building."

A similar partnership could result in a state-of-the-art sports complex, explained Dr. Steiner. Although the vast majority of the Center would be dedicated to YMCA and community programs, the College, under the "Warsaw model," could lease a portion of the new building from the YMCA for a student wellness center and possible other athletic programs. "The partnership between the YMCA and the College has been very successful in Warsaw, and a similar partnership in Batavia might be equally successful and help both organizations meet program and community needs," Dr. Steiner said. "We have no plans for another capital facilities campaign in the near future as we know there is little likelihood of the College receiving funds for new construction, so partnering with the YMCA is a very creative way to meet the needs of our expanding student body as well."

Locating the YMCA Community Sports Center on the Batavia Campus would not change any existing programs of the Y or the College. The YMCA would continue to offer youth, family, adult, and senior programs at its 209 East Main Street building in Batavia, and the College would continue to use its existing gymnasium and athletic fields for competitive athletics and recreational programs.The YMCA Community Sports Center Task Force will work to identify programs and services that could drive the development, construction, and operation of a new building. "The YMCA and our community have a variety of youth athletic programs already in place," Mr. Audsley said. "A very critical part of the Task Force's charge will be to determine how a new YMCA facility can, through collaboration and cooperation, expand and enhance what is already going on and at the same time address existing needs and segments of the community that might be underserved or have not realized their potential."The Task Force is expected to set up a number of subcommittees to gather information and explore issues pertinent to the development of the YMCA Community Sports Center. Subcommittees will examine such subjects as community recreational needs, funding opportunities, operational scenarios, and construction trends. Of special interest to the Task Force and its subcommittees will be the insight and experience of existing youth organizations, local service providers, and area schools, as well as the findings of the City of Batavia's community action teams, Mr. Audsley said.

If a YMCA Community Sports Center were built on the Batavia Campus it would probably be located north of the existing parking area, Dr. Steiner said. "Although the Task Force will examine possible sites for a center, the area in question is adjacent to parking and existing athletic fields, and would probably be the easiest to serve with new utilities," he said.

The Task Force's recommendations will be need-driven, Mr. Audsley and Dr. Steiner emphasized. "Both of our organizations have strong strategic plans, and we are both committed to meeting community needs in the most effective and creative ways possible," Dr. Steiner said.

Genesee Community College was founded in 1966. At the fall 2004 census, the College had enrolled 6,062 students in credit courses. The College also offers a variety of other programs and services, including non-credit courses, arts programs, and workforce training serving almost 10,000 people annually. Also last year, more than 18,000 community residents attended social, arts, and recreational programs at the College's Batavia Campus.

The YMCA was chartered in the City of Batavia in 1889 and now enjoys a two-county service area with operations at Camp Arthur G. Hough on Silver Lake and the Wyoming County YMCA in Warsaw, which opened in 2002. The YMCA is a mission-driven, membership-based not-for-profit organization offering comprehensive programs and services in the areas of camping, families, wellness, and youth development. The Genesee/Wyoming YMCA has over 5,000 youth, adult, and family members and saw over 12,000 individuals visit its three delivery locations and benefit from YMCA programs and services in 2004.

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