YMCA considers building new aquatics center

By MATT PARSONS/Montana State News

The Gallatin Valley YMCA would like to build a $10 million to $12 million wellness and aquatic facility in Bozeman. According to YMCA Chief Executive Officer Andrea Stevenson, they may know within the next two months whether it is feasible.

“We have hired a funding capabilities firm to assess whether the community could privately support a facility like the one we’d like to build,” said Stevenson. “We will build something. We’re just not sure what it will look like yet.”

With Bozeman’s growing population, the aquatic facilities have become overcrowded, and the few we have are aging. According to Dan McCarthy, aquatic director for the city of Bozeman, a new outdoor pool is what Bozeman desperately needs. “If the pool at Bogert Park makes it through this coming summer we’ll need to find an alternative. But that’s a big if,” said McCarthy. Bogert pool, at the end of last season, was leaking 10,000 gallons of water a day.

“Bozeman’s recreation facilities are at a critical mass,” said Stevenson. “We’ve become extremely creative. There are lacrosse teams practicing in horse barns. Any kind of facility we could build would be a needed community asset for the Gallatin Valley.”

The YMCA has been steadily growing its youth programming in the Gallatin Valley and sees a fitness facility as the only way to be able to continue that growth.

The Gallatin Valley YMCA currently owns 23 acres on Baxter Lane where the facility will be built. According to Stevenson the ideal facility would be 41,000 sq. ft. and house a family aquatics pool, basketball gymnasium, teen center, child care center, multipurpose fitness classrooms, indoor track, wellness workout facility and outdoor ball fields.

If the facility is built, it would relieve some of the burden on the Bozeman Swim Center, according to Mitch Overton, director of Bozeman Parks and Recreation. Currently the Swim Center houses activities for a wide variety of user groups. The YMCA facility would focus on swim lessons and recreational swimming which could free the Swim Center to focus on lap swims and competitive swim meets.

“The great thing about a Y facility is that it would be community driven,” said Stevenson. “Our community will tell us what they need.”

– Edited by Alex Komsthoeft

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