History of our YMCA
The idea of the Young Men's Christian Association in this area was thought of many years ago. Citizens were interested in a YMCA and in 1891, incorporation rights to form a YMCA in Fremont was granted, but this association did not survive.
In 1951, an interest was revived again and an office was set up at 136 1/2 South Front Street. A provisional YMCA was formed in 1952. An official charter was granted in March 1953. A second application of incorporation was filed on March 10, 1953, with the Secretary of State and was granted. We received our charter on April 9, 1953. A staff was employed and the old Atkinson School on the corner of East State Street and South Fifth Street was used as our headquarters and offices.
Our name was "YMCA of Fremont" and was changed to "YMCA Community Center of Sandusky County" in 1957. This was done to more fully describe the extent and scope of the association's work. In 1960, our name was changed again to the Sandusky County YMCA due to the increased services to the county.
In December 1957, the headquarters was moved to the basement of the Moose Temple where we lived until the building was torn down in the fall of 1960. This location is where the Fort Stephenson building is now. For the next two years, we operated out of a store room at 308 Croghan Street using various community facilities to conduct program activities.
In the fall of 1957, the first of two drives to raise funds for a new building was set up to raise a goal of $600,000. The campaign slogan for building the YMCA was "U and I must build the Y." About $266,000 was collected. Plans were started and land was purchased at the corner of North Street and Fangboner Road, that is now 1000 North Street. In early spring of 1961, ground was broken and a second campaign was conducted to raise the balance of $300,000 needed.
In March 1962, over 83% of Whirpool Corporation employees signed up for contributions to be made over a 6-year period. Their slogan was donate "Dime a Day or a Day's Pay" whichever was greater. Donations would go toward the indoor pool at our YMCA and a big increase in annual contributions to various charitable organizations in the area. Both of these goals were accomplished.
On December 15, 1962, we moved our offices into our new building even though it was not completed. Some small programs were held while work was still being completed. Our building was officially dedicated on Sunday, February 3, 1963. About 800 attended the formal dedication and altogether about 1,500 toured the building. During our grand opening, a Whirpool Corporation representative presented the key of the swimming pool to our YMCA officials. The Whirpool employees subscribed $93,000 to make the completion of the pool possible.
As our growth increased, more room was needed. In 1968, a third campaign for $300,000 was conducted to provide a youth center and Club Room C, (now called the Don Miller Room), and 2 handball courts. These were completed in the fall of 1969. On February 1, 1970, a dedication ceremony was held for the new additions and an open house followed the dedication. In 1975, a room in the basement was renovated and made into our Men's Health Center.
As memberships increase, more room was needed. Another campaign, goal of $900,000, was created to add on to the YMCA building. This addition was to be our field house, consisting of a new gym, 2nd floor locker room, Women's Health Center, 2 racquetball courts, and an addition to Magic Kingdom (the nursery school area). The campaign was revised to $600,000 making the fieldhouse metal instead of brick and mortar like the rest of the building. The revision cancelled the 2nd floor locker room, and the women's health additions. In 1984, Magic Kingdom preschool and Day Care Center room and our present field house were completed. Our field house consisted of 2 tennis courts, 2 racquetball courts, a gym, and an inside running track.
The latchkey program was started in the fall of 1985, consisting of AM, PM, and kinder care programs. This program allowed parents to being their children to the YMCA and go to work. The children were taken to school and after school were brought back to the YMCA. The parents would pick them up on their way home from work. This program worked for parents who had to go to work early as well as parents who went to work later. The program was extended through the summer providing care for the children of working parents through the day. Children had to be picked up by 6:30 pm. Eventually the name was changed to Day Care, for children in school and Magic Kingdom Day Care for preschool children. Our day care is now open seven days a week from 6 am to midnight.
Air conditioning was always a dream for the YMCA. In 1995, it became a reality when it was installed. Air conditioning is everywhere in the building except the gym, field house, and the pool.
Racquetball court usage seemed to be slowly decreasing and fitness became more popular. It was decided to renovate the 2 racquetball courts in the field house and this area became our new Fitness Center. The center has almost 20 pieces of resistance equipment including exercise bikes, treadmills, and stair climbers. An open house in November 1999 was held to introduce the new Fitness Center.
Our dynamic website made its presence in 2000. We are able to constantly change our programs and schedules whenever a change becomes necessary as well as add new programs as they become available.
Major renovations beneath the pool were started in December 2001. The $60,000 project replaced the current galvanized steel pipes with new plastic piping, a new filter system of all fiber glass tanks and the removal of the 600 gallon chlorine tanks that use to supply the pool with the chemical.
Soccer became a popular sport in the town of Fremont, so it was decided to turn one of our tennis courts into an indoor soccer arena, a first of its kind to the area. The $15,000 area consists of a 50 X 150 foot plastic soccer wall with plexiglass on both ends and corners. This was introduced on February 4, 2002 at an open house.
In need of updating and renovation, in 2002 our Free Weight Room received a much needed make-over. All new state-of-the-art equipment was ordered, as well as new rubberized floor and additional mirrors were installed.
In April 2004, our kitchen was renovated according to the Health Department Standards. After its completion, our child care began providing meals for all children at no extra cost. This is a great help to parents.
In June 2004, updates to our technology were made when purchasing a new computerized point of sale program called MemberST.
Tackle football had been a dream for quite some time in our area. In August 2004, this program was started with 85 participants. Donations from community business and residents as well as YMCA members helped purchase their first uniforms.
In May of 2004 we added a new and very colorful playground for our child care. The fenced in playground was moved from the east to the west side of the building. Money for this project was raised through grants and funds.
August 2005 was a very busy time for us. One problem we have always encountered is our single driveway in front of the building. That month, the zoning committee gave us permission to put in 6 angle parking places and move the driveway south of the parking area. The direction of the driveway was changed going one way west from Fangboner to the east toward our parking lot.
Another improvement was the addition of seven computers awarded through a grant from American Electric Power (AEP) to our child care. This allowed the children to learn computers and even do their homework.
In August 2005, the YMCA fulfilled another dream of starting an indoor group cycling program. The little used toning tables were removed from the old tone room area and nine Schwinn Fitness bikes were purchased. Several instructors were trained and the program began.
Renovation to our front desk was started on September 29, 2005. A change was made to remove the wall between the front desk and an office behind it making the front desk area bigger.
In October 2005, disabled ramps were built on the south side of the field house. They were put in at both the east and west doorways, which were very much needed for easier access.
Improvements to the Health Center have been needed for quite awhile. The end of February 2006, some of the lockers were removed and replaced with used large lockers.
In July 2006, new showers were replaced and new floors were installed in our boys and girls locker rooms and showers. Six private showers were installed in the girls locker room. The family changing room was renovated and a shower and toilet were put in this area.
Due to the success of our indoor cycling program and an increased demand for bicycles, our cycling room needed to be made larger. In February 2007, a wall was removed to make the room larger. More bicycles were purchased to allow 14 participants in each class.
The lockers in the boys locker room have been in poor shape due to moisture. In December 2010, they were updated with newer lockers purchased from the Clyde schools.
Also in December 2010, we expanded our fitness center. With our membership growing and more members wanting to use the fitness center, we knew that something needed to be done. To reduce waiting time for machinery and racquetball becoming less popular, decision was made to renovate one of the remaining racquetball courts to expand the area. By removing an existing wall, the space enlarged 50% more to accommodate more elliptical, bicycles and treadmills. New paint, carpet and mirrors were purchased as well as adding three additional televisions to the theatre entertainment system.
The ActivTrax program was introduced in June, 2011. This revolutionary, web based virtual trainer program takes the guess work out of working out- what exercises to do, when to do them, even how to do them. This virtual trainer serves as your workout partner and gives you weekly meal plans to help you achieve your fitness goals.
With our child care expanding, the playground area was not big enough to accommodate all of the children with plenty of room for playing. In the Summer of 2012, the playground was expanded toward the west into the grassy area making it larger, giving the children a lot more room.
The lighting in the YMCA had become old and in some areas was not very good. With a grant from AEP (American Electric Power), new energy efficient lights were installed throughout the facility in August, 2012. This has not only made the lighting better, but will save money, too.
Many other renovations have been made and considered in our facility. There has been an interest in a 2nd pool! The future holds many ideas and plan for our growing YMCA. We know these plans will come true eventually, with the help of the many caring and giving citizens we have in our community!!