By Lillian BOODAGHIANS
Renovations at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA have been well underway since mid-July and with fall just around the corner, the facility is close to launching its updated space.
Jackie Shaumyan, director of Membership at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, explained that the goal of the renovations is to create a more welcoming atmosphere and build a sense of community.
“With the new branding of the Y that focuses on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, it’s the perfect time to renovate and create a space for members to develop a lifestyle incorporating spiritual wellness,” said Shaumyan.
Three areas were selected as the focus of the renovations: the patio room, the welcome area, and the child watch center. The decision to develop these areas came after observing members and asking for their opinions on where they felt expansion was necessary.
“We were looking at the usage of the facility,” said Roseanne Malogolowkin, executive director of the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA. “We noticed a lot of people liked to sit in the patio and spend time with their family and friends, so we realized there was a need for social expansion.”
This, Malogolowkin explained, was the reason the patio room was chosen as a part of the development.
The new design of the space is intended to create an open environment and to function as a community center where not only are members able to spend time with each other, but where the YMCA can hold workshops, book readings and other community events. The development of the area has been aided by a $25,000 grant presented to the YMCA by the City of La Cañada, which will be used in addition to the money allocated to the renovation by the YMCA itself.
The welcome center updates, like those of the patio room, are an attempt to make the YMCA and its staff more accessible to members.
“We are taking away the large desk and the turnstiles that used to be in the welcome area so that members don’t feel like they have to go through a barrier to get inside,” said Shaumyan, “We’re putting in two smaller desks to make the members feel more comfortable entering and also to make check-in more efficient.”
The need to make the YMCA more available to its members, Shaumyan added, was also apparent in the child watch area, which is a center designed to provide care to young children while family members attend a class or go to the gym.
“Prior to the renovation, there were times when there was a waiting list for the children to go in because the space wasn’t big enough and there wasn’t enough staff,” said Shaumyan.
To remedy this, the YMCA has expanded the area into a larger space and has created separate areas for children of different ages. The facility is also taking on more child watch staff members in order to accommodate a greater number of children and to be able to lengthen the hours it is open, which after the renovation will be from 8: a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Malogolowkin said that the renovations will help the transition into the YMCA’s new style, something that was started as a result of the global rebranding of the organization. She added that the new Y will be more colorful, youthful, and inviting once the project has been completed.