YMCA looks to expand

Published 9:54 am Monday, July 6, 2015

The Vicksburg YMCA is looking at possibilities for growth.

YMCA executive director Casey Custer told Port City Kiwanis last week the nonprofit’s board of directors is looking to expand their facility off Clay Street.

“We do have some key members of our board who are on a planning committee, and one of the goals for this year is to study expansion possibilities in the next three to five years,” Custer said.

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The proposal centers around expanding the W.K. Purks Center at 267 YMCA Place off East Clay Street. The 40,000 square-foot facility includes a 3,500 square-foot fitness center, a glass-wall racquetball court, an 8,000 square-foot gym and a heated indoor pool.

“I don’t envision us building a whole new YMCA somewhere, but I think we can do some major expanding where we are and serve a lot more people,” Custer said.

The facility opened in 2002 after officials of the local Y decided in 1999 to move their main operation from the building at Clay and Monroe streets that had housed the nonprofit since 1923.

A final decision on expansion will be given to the board of directors, Custer said.

Expansion is nothing new for the Y. The last major expansion came with the renovation of the Warner-Tully camp in Claiborne County.

Summer enrollment in 2008 was 200 students over a three-week period.

“Around 2008, we were barely filling up three weeks of camp. We were struggling and brought in a consultant who said we needed to put AC in the cabins and this place needed a facelift,” Custer said.

The camp expanded to five weeks after renovations and this year enrolled 675 campers, Custer said.

“We understand the responsibility that we have to make sure we are doing everything we can to make a difference. At the end of the day, that’s what we want to be about,” Custer said.