YMCA embarks on gymnastics and Camp Mahackeno renovations


Graphic: Morgan Lenoce '20

Changes to Camp Mahackeno include the construction of a new pool, swim pad, and pool house

Lia Chen '20, Paper A&E Editor

The Westport Weston Family YMCA began a two-story, 22,000 square foot building addition and numerous campus renovations early September 2019. The construction is expected to cost around $25 million.

 According to WestportY.org, the changes aim to reinstate the gymnastics program from the Norwalk campus back to the Westport Weston YMCA, increase program space for members and improve facilities at Camp Mahackeno, the YMCA’s co-ed summer camp for campers in grades Kindergarten to 10th.

“When this current building was built,” CEO Pat Riemersma said, “it was intended to be bigger than it is. When the facility was downtown, there were components that we weren’t able to bring here right away.”

One of these components is the relocation of the gymnastics program back to the Westport Weston YMCA, which will be well received by gymnasts who have been training at a rented location in Norwalk for the past few years. 

“With the new facility, we will be able to have a foam pit and in-ground trampolines, along with more space to replace old existing equipment and expand the program.” 

“The issue with renting is that we don’t have the permission to drill holes in the ground, so that prohibits us from getting necessary equipment such as a foam pit” ”

— Chloe Ashton ’21

The new gymnastics facility will be located on the upper level of the building addition, suitable to host meets and accommodate training for both the YMCA and Staples gymnastics team, who currently train in the Norwalk location. 

Along with the gymnastics facility, the second floor of the building addition will include an enlarged “Kid’s Club,” a space for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old to use while their guardians utilize other areas of the YMCA. The lower level of the building addition will expand existing wellness services for current members including group exercise, spinning, youth programs, dance and stretching areas.

“Over the past five years we’ve identified some of the areas where our members need additional space,” Riemersma said.

YMCA member Maya Brodows ’20 believes that the renovations will do just that.

“Sometimes when I go to the YMCA to work out, it gets crowded, especially on the spin bikes, so I definitely think the renovations are wanted by members,” Brodows said.

Swimmer Morgan Lenoce ’20 also believes that these expansions will impact her training positively.

“I feel like the additions will be very beneficial as the gym is very small so it will allow the swim team to have dryland space,” Lenoce said.

According to Westportct.gov, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the permit and site plan for the renovations on April 4, and construction officially started on Sep. 3 with a groundbreaking event. Camp Mahackeno is expected to open June 2020, and the building addition is expected to be completed in September 2020.

“I think everybody’s really backing it and supporting it and excited about what’s going to be taking place,” Riemersma said.