Sneak peek of Watertown YMCA’s downtown community center

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Denise K. Young can sum up in five words what the $27.5 million downtown community center will be like when it opens in December.

“It’s going to be magnificent,” the Watertown YMCA’s chief executive officer said.

Earlier this week, the Watertown Daily Times got a first look at the community and aquatics center during a tour of the project at 146 Arsenal St.

With about 75% of the project finished, Young said: “As of right now, construction is on budget and on time, so we’re in good shape.”

The project is slated to be completed in November when the Y will take over the property with plans to open in December.

Construction has been ongoing for more than a year to turn the former department store-turned call center into a community center that is expected to draw hundreds of people every day.

Shawn Bryant, site superintendent for Purcell Construction, said between 35 and 50 workers are at the site every day.

The new facility will enable the YMCA to host state-level competitive swim meets, expand preventative health services in the community, and enhance programs and amenities.

The new Y will feature a natatorium with a six-lane lap pool and adjacent recreational pool, multi-sport courts, indoor track, wellness center, classrooms and child watch facilities.

Work continues on a 10,500-square-foot addition where lap and recreation pools will be situated.

Family members watching their children swim will enter into the pool area directly to a set of bleachers so they will never get wet. Thanks to state-of-the-art equipment, the whiff of chlorine also won’t fill the air of the natatorium, Young said. That old pool smell permeated public pools for generations, she recalled.

But not at the new facility, she said.

In February, the Y and the Blue Sharks swim team will host its first district meet ever in the facility.

When entering the 99,000-square-foot building through the main entrance, Y guests will be greeted near the welcome center with a social area where they can sit and relax.

Several murals will adorn walls throughout the facility, including some that feature scenes of the Adirondack Mountains and another showing the history of the Y and its connection to Fort Drum.

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