By Jill Nagy
YMCA members will soon have a new health and wellness facility in the Malta branch, more than twice the size of their current rented space, in a new building on the west side of Exit 12 of the Northway.
The new facility is a joint project of the Saratoga Area YMCA and Saratoga Hospital. The latter will provide medical services, probably a physical therapy clinic and physicians’ offices, officials said.
The building will be next to the hospital’s urgent care facility in its Malta Medical Park. Plans are for a 55,000-square-foot building costing about $7 million, occupying about five and a half acres of a 140-acre site owned by Saratoga Hospital.
Plans were approved by the Malta Town Planning Board on Jan. 17. The building was designed by Saratoga Springs architect John Muse. L.A. Group prepared the site plan. Bast-Hatfield Construction of Clifton Park is the general contractor.
It will be jointly owned by the hospital and the YMCA, with the Y renting land from the hospital.
The YMCA portion of the building will house a child care center on the first floor and health and wellness center on the second floor, according to Kelly Armor, YMCA chief operating officer.
While hospital plans are still tentative, according to its media representative Peter Hopper, Armor anticipates a physical therapy center on the first floor of that half of the building, with medical offices upstairs.
The YMCA half of the building will include a fitness center with cardiovascular exercise and weight lifting machines and a yoga and aerobics studio. The layout will be similar to those at the Saratoga Springs and Wilton YMCA facilities. Current Malta staff members are designing the details of the programs and layout for their new home, Armor said.
There will not be a swimming pool, sauna, steam room or similar facilities. However, YMCA board chairman Jason McGregor said that another organization may be bringing an aquatics facility to the area.
The child care center currently serves children from eight weeks of age to school age, including a universal pre-kindergarten program following the Ballston Spa Central School District curriculum. It is licensed by New York state and currently has 35 employees, full- and part-time.
One of the advantages of the partnership with the hospital, according to Armor, is that the YMCA will be able to offer follow-up for physical therapy patients, as well as other health-related YMCA programs such as Livestrong for cancer survivors and programs for diabetics and patients with heart disease or obesity issues.
“We are all fighting the same fight,” she noted.
“We are very excited about the synergy” between the hospital and the YMCA, Armor, said. “We are a long-time leader in health and prevention,” she added.
The YMCA’s share of the construction cost is estimated at $4.5 million, said McGregor. A capital campaign is underway. He expects construction to begin in the spring and he hopes to have the new facility open by the end of 2017.
The partnership between the hospital and the YMCA organization is unique in the capital region but, according to McGregor, it is not unusual elsewhere in the country. A similar program in Rochester provided a model and several Saratoga region representatives visited the Rochester facility to see how things worked.
The partnership itself has been under discussion for several years, McGregor said, and said there was strong “synergy between the boards.”
However, this is the first joint construction project for the two organizations. Bill Dake, a member of the YMCA board and chairman of Stewart Shops Corp., is credited with bringing the two parties together for the project and continues to coordinate construction.