Ottawa’s new $26M YMCA building on pace to open in late spring

State-of-the-art structure progressing on time, on budget

Joe Capece Ottawa YMCA executive director, gives a private tour of the new YMCA building on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023 in Ottawa. Construction on the $25.7 million, 67,000-square-foot riverfront YMCA began a year ago. The facility is expected to be open late  spring of 2024.

The new YMCA building in Ottawa is not near completion, but it’s far enough along to impress those who care greatly about its success.

During a tour of the facility for board members, significant donors and employees Thursday afternoon, YMCA executive director Joe Capece painted a picture of just what will go where and how the building will look as they strolled through the skeletal beginnings of the structure located just off the Illinois River.

Capece said the 67,000-square-foot, $26 million building is about 60% complete and is not only on budget but also on schedule for the late spring opening that was set a year ago.

“We’re very pleased with the progress being made,” Capece said. “We’re on time and on budget, which is also just as important. So many people have been wanting to get in here – this is the third tour I’ve done for around 60 people each, most of them donors. It’s generating a lot of interest and a lot of excitement around the city.”

Capece laid out for the group what most areas will become, starting with a seating area with a view located near the main entrance that will be for all people, not just YMCA members. Also near that area will be a view of the new competition swimming pool.

He also indicated what areas will host offices, reception, exercise classes, child care and a kitchen for cooking classes. Eventually, the group made it through to the gymnasium area, with some venturing up to a third floor, where a walking/jogging track will encircle about two-thirds of the building above the gym and the OSF St. Elizabeth Hospital wellness center.

Capece said that right now representatives from Legat Architects and Pointcore Construction are working to finish enclosing the building, which has yet to see any of the enormous glass windows scattered throughout the facility to provide picturesque views of the city, the surrounding grassy areas and the Illinois River.

The hope, he said, is that the enclosure can be done by November so the building can be heated during the indoor work over the winter. There also is hope that the parking lots and some landscaping will be done by the end of next month.

The brand-new furniture, carpeting, desks, office equipment, signage and exercise equipment will follow once the building is complete.

Capece told the crowd that there will be nothing taken from the current building at 201 E. Jackson St. Everything in the new facility will be new and state-of-the-art.

YMCA board chair Konni Rodeghier, one of the 30 or so people on the afternoon tour, said that she had gone on one of the first tours that Capece hosted about a month ago.

Rodeghier said she was very impressed with the progress that’s been made since.

“When you think that the groundbreaking was about 12 months ago, the time has just flown by,” Rodeghier said, “and the progress made here has been so amazing. … Looking at it from outside, seeing it all the time, you think, ‘Wow, that’s a big building.’ But when you come in here, you get a real feeling of this is the pool, this is the gym, this is the exercise studio.

“Every time you come in here, there’s just more and more being done, and it’s really starting to take shape as far as the rooms and the features. It’s incredible.”

Capece said that the board still is seeking donations toward the construction and the building’s finishing touches, and anyone inclined to contribute can contact him at the Jackson Street building.

Have a Question about this article?