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YMCA prepares to expand, renovate

May 21, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - "I've been associated with the Y since 1924, when I learned to swim," Bill Spangler said Saturday morning after Waynesboro YMCA officials flipped dirt with gold shovels to launch construction efforts at the facility.

"I still swim laps regularly and work out in the gym," said Spangler, 89, of Waynesboro. The YMCA and church have "been my life," he said.

The Waynesboro YMCA is set to renovate and expand "to meet the ever-changing needs of our ever-growing community," said Robert Correll, president of the board of directors.

The project, made possible through a $1.5 million capital campaign, will not only upgrade the mechanical infrastructure, but add special-needs locker rooms, a teen center and expanded fitness center, and more space for child care, officials said.

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The work, projected to last 12 to 18 months, is designed to "ensure our Y remains the epicenter of our community," Correll said.

"This is the best investment you can make," said state Rep. Patrick E. Fleagle, R-Franklin.

He applauded the "Shaping our Future ... Many Hands, One Mission" campaign committee, headed by Robert Zimmerman, for meeting the challenge goal in what was the Waynesboro YMCA's biggest fundraising campaign in its more than 90 years of existence.

The two questions most commonly asked by people considering a move to Waynesboro concern available jobs and the quality of life, said MaryBeth Hockenberry, executive director of the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce.

"I'm very lucky ... to be able to point to this facility," she said, noting that surpassing the $1.5 million mark "really gives us hope that we can do anything in this community."

"The Y has been a very good part of my life," said Bill Shull, 72, of Waynesboro. "I believe in it."

His first visit to the YMCA was in the 1940s, following discussions between his father and past Waynesboro YMCA executive director Charles "Boots" Meagher about the boy's polio.

"I still come out twice a week," Shull said.

In 1975, the Waynesboro YMCA moved from the first block of North Potomac Street to its existing facility at 810 E. Main St. It then renovated and expanded in both 1985 and 1995, bringing today's building to 40,000 square feet.

The Waynesboro YMCA will remain fully operational during construction, Executive Director Alan Smith said.

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