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Reopened YMCA in Kingwood to build second floor by early 2019

Chron logo Chron 6/11/2018 By Melanie Feuk

Staff members worked until Sunday night, June 3, to prepare the Lake Houston Family YMCA facility for its grand reopening in Kingwood the next morning.

On Monday, June 4, the Lake Houston Family YMCA reopened its doors after a 9-month closure due to Hurricane Harvey flood damage. Much of the current set-up is temoporary — when the new facility is completed, it will include a new second-floor deck overlooking W Lake Houston Parkway.

Chris Butsch — community executive director for the Lake Houston YMCA — said staff and community response to the facility’s reopening has been positive.

“I’m excited because I missed all my friends,” said Dolores Madere, who has been a long-time patron along with her husband. “We have a whole group of friends we try to stay in touch. Everybody scattered to all different clubs, now they’re all going to be coming back here. We have a friend who’d come here only to drink coffee and see everybody. It’s a family.”

As the Lake Houston Family YMCA worked to recover its flood-damaged facility, much of the fulltime staff were transferred to other YMCA locations.

However, they were able to all come together again inside the Lake Houston facility in early June for their annual pre-summer all-staff meeting. It was the first time they had the chance to walk through that facility since Harvey.

According to Butsch, perhaps the most difficult aspect for employees after the Lake Houston Family YMCA flooded was determining how to assist the community.

“I think the employees were really feeling for the community because it wasn’t just the Y that flooded — it was hundreds of businesses, thousands of people, and I think our staff just wanted to do whatever they could to help,” Butsch said. “It was really hard for us because without the brick and mortar that we had it was hard to serve so for us I think we struggled a little bit to find our footing and figure out how we can best serve the community.”

The Lake Houston Family YMCA restarted some of its programming in November 2017, like group exercise classes and Adaptive Sports — things they could continue without the building.

“I don’t think there was any question that we were coming back,” Butsch said. “It was just how and when. I think the community has been really supportive of the Y, more so than a lot of communities, and I don’t think we would leave an area that was so much behind us.”

The Lake Houston Family YMCA took on 7 to 9 feet of water during Hurricane Harvey.

Four Houston area YMCAs flooded. The Lake Houston Family YMCA is among the two locations that is coming back. After factoring in insurance and other variables, the YMCA of Greater Houston expects the two facilities will cost about $12 million.

Stacie Dawson, database specialist at the YMCA of Greater Houston, spins the prize wheel during the Lake Houston Family YMCA's reopening day on Monday, June 4, in Kingwood. © Melanie Feuk / Melanie Feuk Stacie Dawson, database specialist at the YMCA of Greater Houston, spins the prize wheel during the Lake Houston Family YMCA's reopening day on Monday, June 4, in Kingwood.

As the building was under construction, the Lake Houston YMCA took the opportunity to re-evaluate the facility and options to bring the community an upgraded YMCA experience.

“We wanted to make sure we set ourselves up for the next 30 years,” Butsch said. “We surveyed our members to get their responses on what we should do and then from there we kind of made our plan of attack.”

Monday’s reopening served as a soft opening — phase one of upgrading the renovated facility.

The new country-club-style locker rooms are complete, as is the pool.

The pool is one of the completed permanent features in the Lake Houston Family YMCA's facility, which reopened in Kingwood on June 4. © Melanie Feuk / Melanie Feuk The pool is one of the completed permanent features in the Lake Houston Family YMCA's facility, which reopened in Kingwood on June 4. The Matrix Double Mega Rack is the centerpiece of the functional space in the wellness center at the Lake Houston Family YMCA, which reopened on June 4 in Kingwood. © Melanie Feuk / Melanie Feuk The Matrix Double Mega Rack is the centerpiece of the functional space in the wellness center at the Lake Houston Family YMCA, which reopened on June 4 in Kingwood.

Among the features that are currently in their temporary set-up is the wellness center.

The temporary wellness center has a variety of workout machines and equipment, including the new Matrix Double Mega Rack — a multipurpose training system that serves as the centerpiece of the Wellness Center’s functional space section.

“Honestly, I would say the best new feature is the functional space because they didn’t have anything like this before,” said Melissa Morisseau, healthy living director of the Lake Houston Family YMCA. “I think before the flood they had like one squat rack and all I’ve heard when people come in is how they like this functional space that you can do pretty much anything with.”

YMCA patron Don Madere (right) spins the prize wheel as Stacie Dawson, database specialist at the YMCA of Greater Houston (left) watches, during the Lake Houston Family YMCA's reopening day on Monday, June 4, in Kingwood. © Melanie Feuk / Melanie Feuk YMCA patron Don Madere (right) spins the prize wheel as Stacie Dawson, database specialist at the YMCA of Greater Houston (left) watches, during the Lake Houston Family YMCA's reopening day on Monday, June 4, in Kingwood.

Aside from that, Morisseau said the fresh new look of the facility is what people have been complimenting.

“We came back with a wow factor and we came back to impress the community,” Morisseau said.

That wow factor will be amplified when the facility is completely finished as the Lake Houston Family YMCA plans to add several new features, including boutique-style workout rooms such as a dedicated spin room and mind-and-body room.

YMCA patron Don Madere (right) spins the prize wheel as Stacie Dawson, database specialist at the YMCA of Greater Houston (left) watches, during the Lake Houston Family YMCA's reopening day on Monday, June 4, in Kingwood. © Melanie Feuk / Melanie Feuk YMCA patron Don Madere (right) spins the prize wheel as Stacie Dawson, database specialist at the YMCA of Greater Houston (left) watches, during the Lake Houston Family YMCA's reopening day on Monday, June 4, in Kingwood.

Several of the new features will be geared toward younger adult clientele.

“That’s who we realized through the evaluation process we weren’t doing enough for,” Butsch said.

The Lake Houston Family YMCA is also going to expand its child watch programming square-footage, including the addition of a children’s adventure center that will have activities for children to engage in.

“If the parent wants to come and let their kids go in there and watch and sit and work on their computer or something like that, they can do that,” Butsch said. “If it’s a rainy day out and there’s nothing to do, they can come to the Y and do that if they have a membership.”

Eventually, the Lake Houston Family YMCA will build a second floor deck enclosure overlooking West Lake Houston Parkway where they will station their more expensive equipment to protect it from potential future flood events, as well as add kind of a curb-appeal, explained Butsch.

After the equipment is moved from the first to second floor, that temporary workout space will become a basketball court.

The Lake Houston Family YMCA anticipates its facility should be completed by January 2019.

For more information about the Lake Houston Family YMCA, visit www.ymcahouston.org/locations/lake-houston-family-ymca.

mfeuk@hcnonline.com

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