Construction of Whitehall's Community Park YMCA, announced with great fanfare nearly two years ago, is well underway and on track to open by fall.

Rhonda Ludwig, vice president of operations for the YMCA of Central Ohio, said completion of the facility at 402 N. Hamilton Road is dependent on the weather, but "we're planning for it to be finished by early fall."

Programming would begin at the start of 2020, Ludwig said.

The opening of the new YMCA branch represents "an important partnership with the city of Whitehall," Ludwig said.

Programming has not been finalized, but it will focus on youth and teens, she said.

The YMCA of Central Ohio already offers programming at Rosemore Middle School and at Beechwood, Etna Road and Kae Avenue elementary schools and will continue to do so after the new facility opens, Ludwig said.

"The new Community Park YMCA will allow us to expand our programming," she said.

In addition to standard educational and physical-education programming, classes at the new YMCA branch could focus on performing arts and music, Ludwig said.

The city of Whitehall is investing $5.5 million to renovate the exiting activities building at Whitehall Community Park and build an addition of about 9,000 square feet to finish the new 25,000-square-foot Community Park YMCA.

"We are working to maximize all we can do within our budget," said Shannon Sorrell, director of the Whitehall Parks and Recreation Department.

The new facility will include a fitness center and a youth-focused field house with turf fields for a variety of sports, Sorrell said.

The facility will not include a pool.

The exterior of the new addition is planned to be finished and waterproof by the end of July, said Derek Erwin, project manager for Corna Kokosing, builders of the Whitehall YMCA branch.

Structural steel has been delivered and will be installed over the next month in both the existing building and at the new addition, he said.

Footers are complete on the new addition and all interior demolition of existing walls and utilities has finished, Erwin said.

Construction of new interior walls and utility walls should be finished in the next month or so, he said.

Whitehall's partnership with the YMCA was announced in October 2017. When the facility is complete, the Y will lease the activities building, provide programming and staff and be responsible for the maintenance of the facility.

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