The Family Y to Purchase Health Central, Built by the Y in 1923
AUGUSTA, Ga. (Nov. 24, 2010) University Health Care System announced today that the building and membership of Health Central Wellness & Fitness Facility will transition ownership to The Family Y effective Jan. 1, 2011.
Representatives of The Family Y and University Health Care made the announcement in the gymnasium of Health Central at 945 Broad St. located in the first long-term home of Augusta’s Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). The building was completed in 1923.
“This is a very exciting and emotional day for us to announce in this historic building that Augusta’s Family Y has indeed come full circle,” said Danny McConnell, President/CEO of The Family Y.
Brent Mallek, Vice President of Human Resources for University, described the agreement as a “win-win for everyone involved. This is a perfect resolution to many months of angst over the future of this building.”
Because of the unpredictable economy and the uncertainty of health care reform Mr. Mallek said it is imperative that University, like other hospitals across the country, narrow its focus to core patient services.
However, simply closing what is said to be one of the nation’s first hospital-based fitness facilities didn’t seem like an option in keeping with University’s community-based mission, Mallek explained.
“Even though maintaining the building would be a financial drain we could no longer afford, University didn’t feel good about displacing the members and leaving a historic structure vacant,” Mr. Mallek explained. “We approached the Y with this option and their Board approved it last week. This is extremely good news for Health Central members, the community, the Y and University.”
Mr. McConnell said The Family Y is extremely optimistic about its new downtown location.
University opened Health Central in 1980 on 13th Street, on the site of what is now Walton Rehabilitation Hospital and moved to its current facility in 1986. The roster of approximately 2,500 members still lists some of those original members. The facility also plays a key role in the hospital’s Employee Wellness Program.
Mr. McConnell said that many of the core programs that Health Central members have come to know will continue and there are plans to supplement those offerings with traditional Family Y programs. In addition, The Family Y plans include short-term and long-term facility and equipment upgrades. Health Central members will also gain the advantage of being able to use all Family Y facilities.
Officials shared the news with staff members this week and announcement letters have been mailed to members. The Family Y will follow up with letters including more details in the coming weeks.
“Unlike University, managing successful full-service wellness facilities is one of our core services,” Mr. McConnell said. “To be in the building that our members helped to build in 1923 is extremely nostalgic. We look forward to a great future for this location and its members.”