TAUNTON – Ongoing renovations to the Old Colony YMCA total more than $1.3 million.
Renovations at the facility include updated exercise equipment for members in the main fitness center, we well as new cardio workout machines, weight training machines and new benches. Improvements were also made in the children’s play area, as well as the preschool and toddler classrooms.
Program Membership Director Stephen Perakslis said 80% of the workout machines were replaced with updated devices that inform a member how many times they lifted or pressed it while exercising.
Perakslis said members have eight new treadmills to complete a walking or running exercise, four new elliptical machines, as well as hand weights, ranging from 51 to 100 pounds.
Perakslis said the newly acquired exercise machines were in response to a survey of its members.
“We take surveys of our members about what they are interested in, and we do what we can to make their requests possible,” he said.
YMCA member Tony Dias Dafonseca said the renovations allowed exercise equipment in a basement workout room to be relocated onto the main fitness center.
“It’s good to have everything on this floor,” he said while using a shoulder press exercise machine. “The new exercise equipment is refreshing to see.”
Dafonseca said he exercises at the YMCA six times a week.
“I use all the weight machines and (free weights) dumbbells.”
YMCA lobby to have children’s play space, new furniture
Perakslis said the main lobby is undergoing a makeover with a new play space for children to enjoy.
“There will be a play space for our kids to have birthday parties,” he added. “It will be a drop-in family attraction. It will be supervised during the time it is open.”
The play space will include a slide, plastic blocks with numbers, and sections for children to play games.
“We want to serve families and give them a healthy lifestyle and a safe place,” he said.
Perakslis said Jordan Furniture plans to donate furniture for the lobby.
“The lobby will be a place for people to relax after a workout,” he said.
The main lobby renovations will also provide members easy access to the locker rooms, fitness center, swimming pool, and gymnasium.
“People have had to go through the basketball court to get to the swimming pool, locker room, and fitness center,” he said. “People can go to the fitness center and swimming pool in the same corridor.”
Perakslis said the building renovations are nearing completion, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for 3 p.m. on July 13.
YMCA upgrades preschool and toddler classrooms
Renovations also include a new preschool classroom and an enlarged toddler classroom “to fulfill a community need,” said YMCA Senior Director of Youth and Family Services Robbi Couris.
“There are a lot of families from Taunton that are new to the area and looking for child care,” he said. “After the COVID pandemic, many childcare centers closed and did not reopen. We have a huge wait list.”
The center previously had two preschool classrooms, two toddler classrooms, and an infant classroom before renovations began. Now there will be three preschool classrooms that will accommodate 20 children in each room, along with a teacher and a teaching assistant in each room.
Childcare teacher Renee Robbins said the childcare programs “have a diverse population of children and staff that strives for it to be a good experience for all.”
“It’s a great place for children to make friends, learn and grow while their parents or caregivers are at work or school,” she said.