Waynesboro YMCA gets face lift

January 27, 1999

Waynesboro YMCABy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Ron Grimes was having a good time pedaling away on one of those torture machines in the cardiovascular room at the Waynesboro YMCA Tuesday afternoon.

Headphones kept him up to date on a courtroom drama unfolding on a television screen over his head. When he got bored with that, he glanced at the Time magazine in his hands.

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Grimes, 55, of Waynesboro, said he works out at the YMCA for an hour five or six days a week. "It's my hobby," he said.


Grimes said he's never had a heart attack and figures his time at the YMCA may help him prevent one.

"I come in here, sometimes I use the pool and sometimes I play racquetball," said Grimes, who works the swing shift at Corning Consumer Products Company in Greencastle, Pa. "When I work days I come in the evenings."

No matter what time Grimes works out, the YMCA a lot nicer since the completion of a $1.5 million expansion this winter. The final touch will be installing playground equipment outside when the weather breaks, said Dick Marks, executive director at the YMCA since 1975, the same year it moved from its 1915 home downtown to its current site.

The old building on North Potomac Street had 38 resident rooms, a bowling alley, youth center, gym and a small pool.

The East Main Street building offered a six-lap Olympic-style swimming pool, gym, meeting room and locker rooms.

That building was first expanded in 1979 when two racquetball courts were added, Marks said.

In 1985, a growing membership required the addition of a second gym and a fitness center, and in 1989 the Youth Center was added to the front of the building.

Six years later, big things began to happen, starting with Campaign 1995, the YMCA's biggest fund-raiser.

When it was over late last year, the YMCA was $1.5 million richer. The money came from corporations and individuals and from bequests, Marks said.

The biggest single item of the new project is the 30-by-40-foot, $600,000 warm-water pool. The water, at a constant 88 degrees, provides soothing relief for arthritis sufferers, those in need of "aqua-therapy" and others with aches and pains.

The main pool in the room next to it got new tile and a new surface. The warm water pool is supposed to free up the big pool for lap swimmers, Marks said.

A lot of the people using the new cardiovascular room are sent there by their doctors to improve heart and lung function.

Each new YMCA member is tested for flexibility, body fat, pulse rate and blood pressure before being allowed to use the fitness or cardio-vascular equipment, Marks said.

The expansion also modernized the entrance and renovated office space, Marks said.

And it paid for a new Youth Center, which separates high school students from elementary and preschooler children in the child-care programs. "We used to bump the high school kids out," Marks said.

Karen Wise runs the child-care program, Steve Layton is youth center director, Alan Smith directs the adult fitness programs and Betsy Metz is the aquatics director.

They are among eight full-time YMCA employees. About 50 people work part time, Marks said.

With some 2,500 members, the YMCA runs on an annual budget of about $700,000.

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