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Revamped Hyde Park YMCA boasts many improvements

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  November 22, 2010 01:48 PM

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(Jeremy C. Fox for

Joe Bayas tried out the new free weights at the Hyde Park YMCA.

After an extensive renovation that closed its doors for almost 17 months, the Hyde Park YMCA reopened Monday, and already local residents are taking advantage of its new amenities.

“Unbelievable,” said Gabriel Polosky, 53, a member of the Hyde Park Y since 1986. “This is just state of the art. I can’t wait to get into the pool and test it.”

That pool is brand-new — a six-lane, 25-yard-long indoor lap pool with adjoining steam room and sauna. It sits in the newly constructed McGrath Family Aquatic Center southwest of the original 1902 YMCA structure. Between the two areas is a new, wheelchair-accessible entrance.

Other improvements include a new hardwood floor on the basketball court, an expanded Health and Wellness Center with 41 new cardio and strength-training machines, a dedicated spinning room with 11 new bikes and new free weights in an expanded space.

Joe Bayas, 31, who works as a fitness instructor at the Roxbury YMCA, was trying out the weight room on Monday morning, and he was impressed.

“I’m thinking about changing from Roxbury to here,” Bayas said. “That’s how excited I am.”

The building had originally been slated to reopen during the summer. A fire last October damaged the third floor, but YMCA officials said at the time that it was not expected to cause significant delays.

Still, the improvements have been a long time coming, said Ann Glora, 53, who runs the Health and Wellness Center.

“I started here 17 years ago, and I saw renovation plans 17 years ago,” Glora said. “So I am beyond excited.”

On the top floor, there are several new areas for children and teens, sponsored by the State Street Foundation. “The Zone” is a space for teens to hang out and do homework; it features a foosball table, widescreen TV and a computer lab.

Next door is an afterschool room for kids from kindergarten to sixth grade featuring a listening lab, and beyond that three other rooms set aside for different age groups.

Executive Director Donna Sullivan said the $9 million renovations also included structural improvements like new joists under the children’s rooms that have leveled out floors that were previously uneven. The building’s exterior was power-washed and the bricks re-pointed, and the doors in the original entrance were replaced.

“The improvements are just phenomenal,” Sullivan said. “People that come in that were in the old building are just blown away.”

An official grand reopening for the center is planned for Dec. 6 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The Hyde Park YMCA is open to all, whether residents of the neighborhood or not. Memberships start at $42.25 per month for one adult, $63 per year for a child up to age 12 and $120 per year for teens. There are also family, senior and college student rates, and day passes are available.

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(Jeremy C. Fox for

Hyde Park YMCA Executive Director Donna Sullivan poses next to the new six-lane, 25-yard-long lap pool.

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