Sage YMCA leaders break ground on new facility

CRYSTAL LAKE – Sage YMCA employees and community leaders broke ground on the new “Y” Thursday, a project that will more than double the facility's size and expand programs offered to the community.

The renovations and expansion will include an eight-lane competitive swimming pool, an 8,000 square foot fitness and wellness center, a new preschool wing, a new whirlpool and sauna, and a hospitality room for meetings and celebrations.

The renovations will grow the Sage YMCA, located at 701 Manor Rd. in Crystal Lake, to 71,000 square feet from its current size of 29,000 square feet. The $18 million construction project has received 90 percent of its funding, and there is a capital campaign under way to cover the remaining $2 million.

“We've got most of the money, but we could use some more,” said Sage Chairman and CEO Vince Foglia to the group gathered for Thursday's groundbreaking.

Foglia, whose finical investment saved the YMCA from bankruptcy in 2011 and allowed the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago to assume management, said the newly renovated “Y” will be a model for the entire country.

“I've had a lot of dreams,” he said. “This has been one for quite a few years … This will be the flagship YMCA, I'm sure, for the United States when it gets done.”

Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley was among the community leaders on hand for the groundbreaking, and he said thanks to Foglia's vision, Crystal Lake will have a facility that will benefit the entire community.

“We're absolutely grateful to Vince Foglia, the Foglia family, and the Metro YMCA for making the decision to invest in this community and to invest in this facility at this place. I think it's a tremendous development.”

Shepley added that the new swimming pool will be a particular asset to the local high school swim teams.

“The most important thing for me is something I've been talking about in Crystal Lake for a long time, and that is that this facility is going to have a competitive swimming pool that will allow our local school districts to host home meets and have viable strong teams, much more so than they've had in the past,” Shepely said.

The last phase of the project is expected to be completed in December 2014.

Robyn Ostrem, executive director of the Sage YMCA, said the pool and the new preschool wing will be strong additions tot he Crystal Lake community. She said the look and feel of the renovated building will a be a place residents will enjoy for years to come.

“The “Y” is going to really truly be a community destination,” she said. “It will be welcoming from the moment you come in.”

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