Sage YMCA to give sneak peek of expansion Thursday

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake residents can get a sneak peek of the new and improved $18.2 million Sage YMCA during a special event Thursday evening.

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., YMCA members and the public are invited to the expanded facility at 701 Manor Road to see some of the improvements, including three new preschool rooms, the shell of an eight-lane competitive swimming pool and a new cafe area that will feature Tropical Smoothie Cafe. The business will be at Thursday’s event providing samples.

Robyn Ostrem, executive director of the Sage YMCA, said the last year has been an exciting process as she has watched the 29,000-square-foot facility transform into a 71,000-square-foot community center.

“It’s been very fun watching the project come together,” she said. “We certainly anticipate membership will grow because of the additions, but we really want to be a destination for families.”

Many elements of the expansion were focused on families, including expanding the preschool from one classroom to three with a new playground installed exclusively for the students’ use. An expanded drop-in day care with a play area for children also was built to allow parents up to two hours to work out and use the facility while their children play.

Ostrem said the expanded preschool still had openings for the coming school year scheduled to start Sept. 2, and parents would have an opportunity to meet teachers and the director at Thursday’s event. Ostrem said while the preschool is only a partial-day offering, Sage YMCA is working toward a full-day program.

The additional space also will create more offerings for teens, including sponsored teen nights in partnership with The Break, Crystal Lake’s new teen center.

The main attraction could be the new competitive swimming pool that will hold 300 spectators and host meets for District 155 high schools. The aquatic offerings are some of Sage’s most popular, with 200 people enrolled in the Sage Piranhas program, Ostrem said.

The existing pool will remain operational and receive renovations, Ostrem said.

Those who attend Thursday’s event will have an opportunity to receive discounts for memberships and programs, Ostrem said. A zero-cost joiner promotion is ongoing until Sept. 1. Ostrem also said the YMCAs of Metro Chicago never turn away people for inability to pay. The 23 centers in the organization combined to give $3.2 million in financial aid last year.

“We’re excited to show it off,” Ostrem said.