By Christine Graf
The Malta YMCA opened the doors to its brand new $5.2 million facility in June. The two-story, 55,000-square-foot building is located off of Northway Exit 12.
Before relocating to the new facility, the YMCA’s fitness and childcare centers were located in two different leased spaces in Malta Commons. Both centers are now housed under one roof in the new building.
Construction of the facility received support from major donors including Stewarts, the Dake family, Adirondack Trust Co., the DeCrescente family, and Ballston Spa National Bank.
The Malta YMCA is located next door to the Malta Med Emergent Care/Saratoga Hospital Medical Group building in the 140-acre Saratoga Medical Park. It was constructed through a joint partnership between the Saratoga Regional YMCA and Saratoga Hospital. The hospital leases approximately one third of the space in the new facility. According to Regional YMCA CEO Andrew Bobbitt, the YMCA entered into a “nonprofit-friendly lease partnership with the hospital.”
Dr. James Kelly’s primary care and sports medicine practice is located on the first floor of the new building. A physical therapy space and indoor therapy pool are currently under construction. The hospital also has space on the second floor that will be used to add additional medical offices in the future.
“That’s part of the beauty of the partnership with Saratoga Hospital and part of how this came about,” said Bobbitt. “Through continuum of care, there will be the opportunity for physical therapy clients and patients to move upstairs to the second floor of the Y to the Healthy Living Center.”
The 8,700-square-foot Healthy Living Center contains cardio and weight equipment in addition to group exercise, indoor cycling, and yoga studios. A wide variety of classes are offered in each studio, and three different classes can run simultaneously. Approximately half of the equipment in the Healthy Living Center is brand new.
“We are also looking at adding a specialized unit called an anti-gravity treadmill. That allows folks who are pre or post-rehab the ability to use the treadmill. It basically inflates and you are zipped in a bubble. It allows you to run at lower percentages of impact,” said Bobbitt.
The addition of an anti-gravity treadmill would benefit clients receiving physical therapy in the building.
YMCA members who are using the Healthy Living Center can take advantage of the YMCA’s KidzCare which is also located on the second floor. The babysitting service costs $2/hour per child, and reservations are encouraged. KidzCare is also open to patients of Saratoga Hospital who have medical appointments in the building.
Parents who are looking for full-day or after school care for their children can enroll them in the facility’s Early Learning and School Age Center. The full-time licensed day care center serves children between the ages of 6 weeks and five years of age. It is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The center also provides before and after school care for school-aged children.
In addition to having classrooms, the child care center has an indoor play space and three outside play spaces designed for different age groups. The play space for toddlers has a rubberized surface for safety.
Since opening the new facility, Bobbitt said membership has increased.
“Tripling the space has in essence tripled our capacity for serving members,” he said. “We’ve gone from a max of 2,000 to 6,000 members. Since opening, we’ve added 600 net members. We’re at 2,400 individuals.”
Bobbitt said the majority of feedback from members has been positive but acknowledges that the facility’s rate increase was problematic for some. Before the new YMCA was built, memberships could be purchased for use the Malta branch only. All members must now purchase a more expensive association membership which allows them to use all of the Saratoga Regional YMCA facilities.
“This was a build that caused us to take on some debt,” said Bobbitt. “We’ve tripled our space and have had to take on about double the cost in occupancy and staffing. As a charity, we have to come in at a break-even level. Those are the growing pains that are part of the rate increase.”
The Malta YMCA currently employs 150 people, and 80 percent of them are part time. That number includes instructors who teach classes in the yoga, fitness, and cycling studios.
As for the future, Bobbitt said the YMCA’s partnership with Saratoga Hospital is in its infancy and will continue to grow.
“The partnership with the hospital is in its early stages from a program perspective. We will see partnerships with Dr. Kelly in particular in terms of wellness and sports medicine,” he says. “There are some plans to have what we call Table Talks—events that will be open to the public.”
Bobbitt said there may be opportunities for the YMCA to use the hospital’s indoor therapy pool to conduct learn to swim programs for children in the early learning center. Many other programming opportunities are also being explored.
“There has been some talk with some other youth-serving organizations about how we could partner with those groups,” says Bobbitt. “That would include additional youth programs such as martial arts, dance, tumbling. Those are programs we will be looking at.”
Its website is srymca.org/locations/malta-branch.