Breaking News Bar
posted: 7/30/2013 5:58 PM

Former YMCA getting makeover in Vernon Hills

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Jeff Fougerousse, of the Vernon Hills Park District, discusses ongoing renovations at the Lakeview Fitness Center, formerly the Central Lake YMCA.

       Jeff Fougerousse, of the Vernon Hills Park District, discusses ongoing renovations at the Lakeview Fitness Center, formerly the Central Lake YMCA.
    Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

  • Renovations at the Lakeview Fitness Center in Vernon Hills involve reconfiguring several spaces.

       Renovations at the Lakeview Fitness Center in Vernon Hills involve reconfiguring several spaces.
    Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

  • Extensive improvements at the former Central Lake YMCA in Vernon Hills include a new reception area at the entrance, to be relocated from the middle of the building.

       Extensive improvements at the former Central Lake YMCA in Vernon Hills include a new reception area at the entrance, to be relocated from the middle of the building.
    Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

 
 

Seven months after the faltering Central Lake YMCA in Vernon Hills was sold and the facility saved from closing, an extensive renovation is well under way.

The Vernon Hills Park District expects to spend about $507,000 upgrading and modernizing the facility at 700 Lakeview Parkway as an affordable fitness option, and to make it more inviting for current and prospective members.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Though many members bailed out in late October after the YMCA announced its financial difficulties and need to close, membership at the renamed Lakeview Fitness Center has surged from about 1,200 to 3,000 individuals since the park district assumed control Jan. 1.

"It's significant. We're starting to see this space will be necessary to spread our wings to accommodate the membership," said Jeff Fougerousse, the park district's executive director. About half of those are returning members and half new, including a "lot of families and seniors," he added.

The renovation is expected to be complete by mid-September, with a grand reopening planned for Oct. 19.

Behind-the-scenes-type improvements, such as upgraded electrical and mechanical work and alarm and music systems are part of the renovation package. But the changes expected to be most noticeable to members involve moving walls and reconfiguring space.

Group exercise and cardio/free weight areas will be expanded by about 40 percent each, according to the plans.

"These two amenities, that's our membership. That's what they use," Fougerousse said. "Besides the swimming pool, that's what drives our revenues."

The group exercise room, for example, is growing to 2,300 square feet and will occupy the former after-school program area, which was relocated to the district's Sullivan Center. That will allow class size to increase from about 25 to 40.

The former YMCA had an institutional "vanilla" feel, he said, and though only 13 years old, it will benefit from opening up the spaces and softening the appearance. That first impression will be immediate as a new entryway/vestibule will open to a 27-foot oval reception area being relocated from the middle of the building.

"I like the open format. The plans look really nice," said Vernon Hills resident Vijaya Rao, whose family stuck as members through the turmoil.

Fougerousse said the facility is turning the corner in terms of operating revenues versus expenditures.

"We kept our head above water in the month of June. I can't say that from January to June," he said.

Village officials, who persuaded the YMCA to build the facility and paid $500,000 toward construction, didn't want to see it close. After an intense several weeks of discussion, village officials agreed to lend the park district $2.025 million interest-free to buy the building and property, with no payments due for three years.

The park district was interested because it did not have an indoor pool or child care program. Little Learners child care is at about 60 percent capacity and will be the focus of an upcoming marketing campaign.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here