Northeast Family YMCA begins expansion

John Flynn, CEO & Pres­id­ent of the YMCA of Phil­adelphia & Vi­cin­ity speaks at the North­east Fam­ily Y, loc­ated at 11088 Knights Rd. be­fore break­ing ground on a $700K Ex­pan­sion Pro­ject. Kev­in Cook / for Times

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 twar­

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