DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Perry Agudo looks back at Jessie Ramos and Lucy Quiocho, who are preparing the ground that will be the parking lot for the expanded Leeward YMCA.
Leeward YMCA primed for $13.5M growth spurt
When Leeward YMCA program director Eric Bautista is planning day-care activities for more than 200 children, he has to be creative.
Bigger and better
For more information about the Leeward YMCA expansion, call Executive Director Manuel Ayala or Associate Director Donna Kranz at 671-6495. An information session for area residents will be held this spring, and the new facility's grand opening is expected in early 2007. Fundraising is ongoing, with individual contributions met dollar for dollar (up to $250,000) by the Henry Clark Challenge Grant.
There is only room inside the Leeward YMCA's small building on old Oahu Sugar Mill's site for some of the kids at a time. So while one age group is indoors working on crafts, three more are outside on the lawn playing games, and several more are on field trips to other YMCA pools.
In the spring of 2007, YMCA officials hope the juggling act will end. A $13.5 million Leeward YMCA expansion will transform one of the YMCA of Honolulu's humblest locations into a showpiece facility.
The project will add:
» 11,000 square feet of fitness space, with group exercise rooms, cardiovascular fitness areas and modern locker rooms.
» A 25-yard, six-lane outdoor pool, with an outdoor deck that incorporates the remaining Oahu Sugar Mill smokestack, a Waipahu icon.
» An outdoor basketball court, community meeting rooms and 160-car parking lot.
When complete, the new Leeward YMCA will be the most comprehensive YMCA in the state, with more exercise space than the Nuuanu YMCA, which currently has the largest fitness area, said Mike Doss, YMCA of Honolulu district vice president.
"This will be a flagship YMCA, the kind of facility we're moving toward" for Oahu, Doss said last week on a site tour.
CDS International designed the facility, which will use the renovated Oahu Sugar generator building to house two floors of exercise space and will add an all-new wing to house locker rooms and offices. Constructors Hawaii Inc. is the general contractor.
The exterior of both the historic building and the new addition will have the look of the sugar mill in its heyday, Doss said.
Today, the Leeward YMCA has no adult members because it offers just a few adult exercise classes. In a year, group exercise classes, lap swimming, cardiovascular and weight-training machines and more will be available.
"This enhances the ability of a family to be together," said Larry Bush, president and CEO of the YMCA of Honolulu. "Mom can exercise and Johnny can swim at the same time that Dad may be playing basketball somewhere else. The Y can be a focal point for the family."
The Leeward expansion is part of an islandwide capital project for the Young Men's Christian Association of Honolulu, aimed at putting more facilities in underserved areas.
For Sierra Matsubara, Micah Donaldson and Kaitlyn Bonn, all 8-year-olds who attend day-care programs at the Leeward YMCA, they are excited by the prospect of their own swimming pool next year.
Nearby business owners praised the potential benefits of the YMCA's expansion yesterday.
"I hope it will help revitalize the neighborhood," said pharmacist Chris Parker at Waipahu Family Pharmacy on Waipahu Street.