YMCA plans to expand busy Ozaukee branch

Stand-alone child care building, expanded gym under consideration as Saukville facility looks for room to grow

OFFICIALS AT THE Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA in Saukville are considering several expansion projects, including the construction of a stand-alone child care center, expansion of the current gym and additional multipurpose space. Photo by Bill Schanen IV
Ozaukee Press staff

The Kettle Moraine YMCA is planning its first expansion at its busy Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA in Saukville, but what shape that expansion will take remains undetermined.

A survey of community leaders, volunteers and donors has identified three major areas for expansion — a stand-alone child care center and additions for gymnasium and multipurpose space — Rob Johnson, CEO of the Y, said this week.

But the YMCA is still working to define its expansion plans, Johnson said, so whether more than one project is put into motion remains to be determined.

While the list of expansion priorities is notable, equally notable is what’s not on the list — an expanded swimming pool.

That was initially considered, Johnson said, but the Y “ran into a pretty big snag.” The only logical place to expand the pool is directly outside the current one, but wetlands run up to the building in that area.

“That’s a really unaffordable option for us at this time,” Johnson said. “We had to take it off as a consideration.”

An expanded pool remains a priority, he said, but it may become reality at a different location, perhaps another YMCA branch when one is built in the area.

The child care center “was a clear priority,” Johnson said, noting it was the No. 1 area of expansion identified during meetings with community groups and the survey.

A child care center, which would be for infants through 5-year-olds, would likely be built on an outlot in front of the YMCA, not attached to the existing building, Johnson said. 

There would be room not just for day care, but also the Y’s 3-year-old and 4-year-old kindergarten programs, as well as wrap-around child care.

Currently, the YMCA can only provide child care for children 2-1/2 to 5 years, and they’re at capacity for that, Johnson said.

“We have a waiting list,” he said.

The gym expansion would likely be built on the west side of the building, adjacent to the current gym, Johnson said. 

The cost of the child care center is estimated at between $1.3 million and $1.7 million, he said, while the gym expansion is expected to cost about $1.1 million.

The expansion is needed in large part to ensure the YMCA meets the needs of its members, Johnson said, noting that last year the facility experienced an overall 4.5% growth in membership, programming and use.

Last year, he said, membership grew 10.7%, from 3,200 to 3,542. There was a 3% increase in programming and revenue grew 3.3% to $4.2 million.

It served 816 students from the Northern Ozaukee, Port-Saukville, Grafton and Cedarburg school districts in its before and after-school programs and a 7% increase in its summer day camp program.

Johnson said the YMCA is refining its potential plans for expansion and will present these to the 26 people it surveyed, as well as community groups, at the end of January. 

These plans will also be presented during listening sessions at the YMCA in February, he said.

“We want to make sure our members understand what’s going on and understand what we’re proposing,” he said.

After getting their feedback, Johnson said, the plans will be presented to the YMCA board of directors, who will determine what work will be done and how much of a fundraising campaign will be needed.

“For sure we want to figure out the direction by May 1,” he said, with plans and a fundraising campaign in place.

The campaign could take eight to 12 months to complete, depending on the fundraising goal, Johnson said.

Construction is expected to take six to eight months, he said, and they hope to have whatever projects are approved completed by July 2021. 

The Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA, which was acquired by the Kettle Moraine Y in 2014, has undergone significant renovations.

Expansion has always been on the board’s mind, however. They originally hoped to launch the project last year, but decided to delay the plans until they could get input from members and the community, Johnson said.

“This is one thing you don’t want to just push through,” he said. “People are making an investment in the YMCA, and we want them to know we take that seriously.”


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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