Vacating School Building, Family YMCA Looks to Main Street Facility
| by Robert Kimmel |
A utilization study of its Main Street building, undertaken by the Family YMCA at Tarrytown last year, appears to be the key to developing the space its needs following the departure of its Early Learning Center from Tappan Hill School. The Y must vacate the school by the end of July.
While the study was unrelated, at the time, to the Tarrytown School District’s decision to reacquire use of the school for rental to BOCES, a state educational program, it is providing guidance to how the Y could structure space at its own building for most of the programs it conducted at Tappan Hill including childcare for infants through school-age children.
At the school on Ichabod Lane, where its rental agreement with the district was for three years, the YMCA used several classrooms and other large spaces such as the gymnasium for its childcare programs, along with other activities, including performing arts. The YMCA leadership had been working “24-7,” according to one source, to determine a place where it would transfer those activities, even before focusing on the Main Street location. It found that by deemphasizing some operations at the building it could create space for most of the activities conducted at the school.
Renovations at the Main Street building will be aimed at completion before August 1, when the Y can no longer use the school building. The YMCA’s Board has approved the renovations required at Main Street, and is working on a financing and capital raising program, according to Barbara Turk, Vice President of Marketing and Community Development at the Y. All changes will be internal; no expansion is planned. The renovation is expected to cost about $600,000, with the Y planning to raise $500,000 to meet its needs.
Turk noted that as a “community center,” the Y is going to be seeking support from the community, from its members, and its large donors.”
Parents of children in the Y’s child care programs and other Y members were invited to briefing sessions last month offering information about the move, and renovation details were presented to the Tarrytown Planning Board as well. Soon after the departure from Tappan Hill was announced, Family YMCA’s CEO Gerry Riera stated, “We have been working on a contingency plan to ensure seamless childcare for all our families during the transitional time period starting August 1, 2015. Ensuring that our Childcare participants are well cared for, our members’ health and wellness needs are met, and Y staff are happy are our highest priorities.”
The school district Board of Education explained its reasons for concluding Tappan Hill School’s rental to the YMCA as mainly financial. Returning occupancy to a public educational organization such as BOCES enables the district to receive state aid for much needed repairs to the building.