Five years ago, Jennifer Cheeseman sent her daughter Morgan to the Northeast Family YMCA nursery school.
Today, Morgan attends MaST Community Charter School, having just completed first grade.
Morgan’s younger sisters, Bridget and Devon, just completed the Y’s pre-kindergarten program and are headed to MaST for kindergarten.
Cheeseman described the nursery school as “awesome” and the teachers as “incredible.” The youngsters not only learn their ABCs and 123s, she said, but they are also taught respect.
“My children thank you,” she said.
Cheeseman was at the Northeast Family Y, at 11088 Knights Road, last week for a groundbreaking ceremony on a $700,000 expansion that, among other things, will allow the nursery school to move on site after being at Faith Lutheran Church, located on nearby Woodhaven Road, for 27 years.
The 7,000-square-foot expansion will include a fitness center and program space. Right now, the fitness center is in the main building. It’ll be replaced by the nursery school.
“The Y has always been most special in the area of child care,” said City Councilman Brian O’Neill (R-10th dist.), who helped the Y obtain the necessary zoning.
Many of the programs, such as aerobic exercise classes, that will move into the addition currently take place in the gym.
The fitness center will be in larger space, and the Y will buy some new equipment. The move of the exercise programs into the new space will allow for more use of the gym by basketball players and others.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said executive director Paula Green, adding that the growth will be in keeping with the Y’s family atmosphere. “It’s an exciting time for us.”
John Flynn, CEO and president of the YMCA of Philadelphia & Vicinity, said the project should be completed by late September. Among the amenities will be a water sprinkler splash area that will, in a way, replace the outdoor pool. A large indoor pool remains.
Among others at the June 14 event were elected officials, the Y mascot and children with plastic shovels and pails to help in the groundbreaking.
The Y building presently is 26,000 square feet. The addition will be built on ground that was formerly a lifeguard house, the outdoor pool and grass. The branch has contributed $500,000 from its reserves for the project and is looking to raise the remaining $200,000. ••
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org