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Design decisions and name change considered for YMCA

Jane Howard


The new Cook County Family YMCA—which might end up with a different name— will look similar to this drawing. Small changes continue to be made to the plans as the project unfolds; for example, the front row of windows will now be two panels—16 feet wide. The building is expected to be open for business by mid-December. The Cook County Community Center Steering Committee met on May 6, 2013 and discussed the possibility of changing the name. One suggestion was to call it the Cook County Community YMCA. County Commissioner Sue Hakes said it will still be a community center even though it will be managed by the Duluth Area YMCA. 
Renderings courtesy of JLG Architects The new Cook County Family YMCA—which might end up with a different name— will look similar to this drawing. Small changes continue to be made to the plans as the project unfolds; for example, the front row of windows will now be two panels—16 feet wide. The building is expected to be open for business by mid-December. The Cook County Community Center Steering Committee met on May 6, 2013 and discussed the possibility of changing the name. One suggestion was to call it the Cook County Community YMCA. County Commissioner Sue Hakes said it will still be a community center even though it will be managed by the Duluth Area YMCA. Renderings courtesy of JLG Architects As final design elements are chosen for the Cook County Family YMCA, ORB Management, JLG Architects and Meyer Group continue to try to deliver what the Cook County Community Center Steering Committee has asked for without breaking the budget. At a committee meeting on May 6, 2013, Project Manager Wade Cole said the cost-cutting changes made so far have been worth it.

The committee went over some design choices with Wade Cole of ORB and Dan Miller of JLG Architects. One of their choices was to use an accent color of Cook County Vikings blue in the gymnasium. The cheapest materials were not always the ones chosen. The committee chose tile over epoxy pool decking because of its quality and the good price the contractor offered. The dance studio where the old band room was will have a springy wood floor instead of a cushioned laminate, and the gym floor will be ½ inch rather than ¼ inch – a cost of $7,500 that will add at least 20 years to the floor because it can be sanded down and refinished more times.

The project has had an occasional snafu, such as a section of hallway concrete leading from the vestibule being poured before a decision was made to put integral color into the concrete rather than staining it.

The cost of building under winter conditions was $95,000. Cole said winter lasted a lot longer than expected. The contingency fund has gone from just under $570,000 to about $200,000. “I think it will be enough,” Cole said, adding that he wouldn’t recommend too many changes from the plan at this point.

The plan is for the public to be able to use the pool and the gym by mid-December. A total of $300,000 is set aside for furnishings such as furniture, exercise equipment, and computers. Landscaping is not in the budget. Cole said it was his understanding that the committee had planned to get volunteer help for this aspect of the project.

Cole is obtaining bids for commissioning, which would bring in an engineering expert to evaluate the installation of the mechanical and HVAC systems.

The pool contractors have requested that a wider opening be left in the front of the building for equipment to put in the pool, which will be installed after the walls are up so that other contractors can safely do their work, some of which involves accessing the ceiling. This will make the front window opening 16 feet instead of 8.

County Commissioner Sue Hakes stated that the facility would still be a community center despite the fact that it is being called the Cook County Family YMCA. Current Community Center Director Diane Booth said that if the new facility will be a community center, then the current Community Center building would need to be renamed.

Newly hired YMCA Branch Executive Director Emily Marshall said that the YMCA has some facilities that are called Ys and others that are called community centers.

City Councilor Jan Sivertson wondered if it could be called the Cook County Community YMCA. Some non-traditional families might prefer that the word “family” not be used, she said.

Diane Booth said having the Cook County Community Center, Cook County Community Education, and a Cook County Community YMCA would be hard for people to keep straight.

Executive Director Marshall said she would find out if the name could be changed at this point.


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2013-05-11 digital edition


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