YMCA - Florida
Donors, board members, business and chamber executives, politicians and, of course, Warren Loranger, gathered Wednesday for the VIP opening party for the Warren Loranger YMCA on Medical Boulevard in Englewood.
Loranger, already well known around town as a benefactor of the Englewood Art Center, donated $1 million to the $6 million, 42,000-square-foot facility that had many in the crowd full of praise.
“They did a great job,” Loranger said.
The layout is ideal, the colors are exceptional. Loranger said that, growing up in Bay City, Mich., the YMCA played an important part in his life.
“I learned how to swim, play basketball,” he said. “That kind of organization deserves my support.”
From the 30-foot-high ceilings in the lobby to the rows of brand-new treadmills to the pool and sauna, people were surprised and excited by the new building.
“It s a lot bigger than I thought,” said Jonathan Cole, president of the Englewood-Cape Haze Area Chamber of Commerce.
Seeing the new building was enough to convince Cole to join the YMCA, and, he said, sponsor half the fee for the employees of his company, Giffels-Webster Engineering, who want to join.
“It s absolutely gorgeous,” said Dean Beckstead, a major donor and one of the founders of the YMCA s currently facility on Indiana Avenue.
“We did not skimp on anything,” said Ken Modzelewski, chief executive officer of the South County YMCA. “It s a first-class facility for the Englewood community.”
YMCA staff members were among the most excited in the crowd. Jason Hunter, director of childhood programs at the Y, said, “There s so much potential for this building. I have the space to finally do everything I want to do with my programs.”
“I m so thrilled. I can t wait to move in,” said Marcia Ziegler, membership director. Ziegler said she had already fielded membership requests at the party and was hearing nothing but positives from the crowd.
That was good news to Fred Hind, who designed the interior of the building. Hind said he used colors such as silver gray and pale yellow for the lobby and purple for the walls in the largest room that houses the treadmills and other popular equipment.
“You should walk in and feel this is really a place you want to be,” he said.
“Everybody likes the place. I think everybody s impressed,” said Pat Ryan, vice president of the South County YMCA.
Rich Stureman who teaches yoga at the Y, said he has been with the agency since it came to Englewood nine years ago.
“It s awesome, just beautiful,” Stureman said. “I can t wait to see the faces of the people when they walk in here. That s what I m looking forward to.”
One of those faces might belong to Joni Hyde. Looking over the new building, Hyde said she was having second thoughts about letting her membership slide.
“It s time to come back,” she said.