A rendering of what the Kent YMCA might look like on the East Hill.

YMCA on Kent’s East Hill could open in 2019

The new YMCA in Kent could open in the summer of 2019 on the East Hill if all goes as planned.

YMCA officials expect to have the design for the $25 million, two-story building completed by spring 2018 with construction anticipated to start that summer and be completed in about 12 months.

The YMCA will build the nearly 60,000-square-foot facility near Southeast 248th Street and 104th Avenue Southeast in the middle of the city’s Morrill Meadows Park. The city will provide the land for the building and parking.

So far, the YMCA has raised 66 percent ($17.2 million) of the $25 million and expects to be at 89 percent by the end of the year, said Nathan Phillips, regional vice president at YMCA of Greater Seattle.

“We have such a fantastic group of volunteers in Kent who have really powered this project forward and kept it going over the last few years,” Phillips said in a report Tuesday night at a City Council workshop. “They have built a great structure for our fundraising.”

There were doubts a few years ago whether Kent could pull off the fundraising.

“This is one of the most ambitious projects ever taken on for a private capital campaign in Kent,” Phillips said. “There was a lot of concern going in if we could do it and Kent told us over and over again that we could, so we are really pleased we are on track right now and we want to keep that momentum going.”

The largest contributions so far include $1 million from the Morford family and $1 million from the King County Council, which last year approved funds for the YMCA as part of its 2017-18 budget.

The city of Kent must come up with about $5 million for its improvements to the park, including a parking lot, said Parks Director Julie Parascondola.

The city has asked the state Legislature this year to contribute $3 million toward the project.

“With our existing funds, we are only at 40 percent,” Parascondola said.

Highlights of the facility will include a state-of-the-art aquatics center, a gym, wellness and group exercise classes, indoor and outdoor recreation space within Morrill Meadows Park and dedicated community gathering spaces.

The swimming pool and gym will be on the first floor. The second floor will include cardio and weight lifting equipment, a running track that goes around the gym and exercise studios.

Phillips said the YMCA expects to have 11,000 members at the new facility and another 11,000 people will be served by programs that reach out to the community, including programs accessible to people regardless of their income.

The pool at the YMCA will replace the city’s aging Kent Meridian Pool next to Kent-Meridian High School. Councilman Les Thomas asked Phillips if local swim teams from the schools would be able to use the new aquatic facility.

“School programming that is happening at the KM Pool we hope to absorb as much of that as possible,” Phillips said. “My understanding is that the (Kent) School District is paying the pool for uses and we would expect a similar arrangement.”

The combination of a park and YMCA on the same property makes the project special, Phillips said.

“This isn’t just a building, this isn’t just a park but a hub for where community comes together,” he said.


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