June 27, 2022 – At its 167th annual meeting, the Coastal Georgia YMCA announced a transformational investment in the health and wellbeing of its core constituent communities, beginning with Pooler’s West Chatham YMCA. This fall, work will begin to transform one of the association’s busiest branches into a modern wellness center that will be better equipped to serve the growing population on the west side of Chatham County.

YMCA space will be redesigned and remodeled through a $1.6 million renovation that will provide more space for members, reduce congestion and update critical infrastructure like parking areas in one of the busiest in the association at 10 branches. The current fitness center space will be opened up to make way for a more member-centric experience. The addition of flexible spaces for specialized wellness activities and programs like LIVESTRONG at the YMCA and a self-monitoring blood pressure program coupled with the state-of-the-art EGYM intelligent strength system will help make a mode fun, fast and effective healthy living for the thousands of members served each year by the West Chatham Y.

This investment represents the YMCA of Coastal Georgia’s first major capital project in Chatham County since 2005 and serves as the starting point for a long-term capital strategy to meet community trends and needs in the whole of the association.

“With this much-needed renovation, we are looking to the future and working to ensure our facilities and services are ready to serve for the next 50 years,” said Joel Smoker, CEO.

Since 1989, the YMCA of Coastal Georgia has grown from two branches in one county to 10 in seven counties in response to the rapid growth of suburban communities in the area. The strength of Chatham County’s main branches has anchored this expansion to meet the needs of the community, and with the announcement of this investment, the association is adapting to meet the infrastructure needs of a growing population of members. , as well as critical welfare issues in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent CDC study cites that in children and youth, body mass index rates almost doubled. And adults fared no better: A 2021 Gallup poll tells us that 43% of Americans say they have poorer exercise habits, and 31% said financial hardship prevents them from seeking treatment.

“Health outcomes have suffered badly since the start of the pandemic, and that’s why this reinvestment in a vital branch like the West Chatham Y is so important at this time,” Smoker continues. “That’s where the Y comes in: we invest in proven programs to prevent and control chronic disease and improve health outcomes by supporting people with welcoming places for physical activity, opportunities for nutrition education and a peer support community. Our Ys aim to be the hub of the community, places accessible to all, where improved health outcomes are supported and celebrated. Importantly, we never deny anyone membership, programs or services due to an inability to pay. »

The West Chatham YMCA was opened in 2001 and was one of the few businesses on its stretch of Pooler Parkway at the time. In 2021, it was one of the YMCA of Coastal Georgia’s 10 busiest branches, serving 6,757 members and 1,638 program participants, which recorded 121,839 visits during the year.