YMCA, OSF, and Easterseals team up to create new facility; construction begins next week

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Construction for a new facility that will meet the physical, social and spiritual needs for Twin Cities community members is just around the corner.

After a two-year campaign, the Bloomington-Normal YMCA has enough money to build a new space worth $23 million.

On Tuesday, company leaders from OSF St. Joseph, the Bloomington-Normal YMCA, and Easterseals broke the ground on a new 76,000 sq. ft. building with the goal of opening it by spring of 2022.

The project goes back to 2018 when the YMCA recognized their current building didn’t have enough space to meet the demands of their growing programs.

“We began envisioning a welcoming, inspiring, and uplifting place that really fosters youth development,” said CEO B.J. Wilken.

To do that, the organization knew it had to build a new facility and decided to team up with Easterseals.

“Both organizations share similar spaces,” said Wilken. “So it was a natural fit to be able to provide a facility that accommodates everyone in our community.”

On Tuesday morning, both organizations blessed the ground at the new space located on OSF’s campus.

“This day is really one for celebration and hope,” said Easterseals President and CEO Steve Thompson. “To see a tangible expression of this vision becoming a reality, right here in Bloomington, is hard to describe.”

A portion of the facility will be occupied by Easterseals for its pediatric physical, occupational, speech, and feeding therapy programs, as well as its autism services, including applied behavior analysis and individual and family counseling.

“You can see this is a place that supports optimal child development, regardless of ability,” said Thompson. “It starts to bring everyone together, to support their opportunity to reach for and achieve their full potential.”

The new facility will include a state of the art aquatic center with two pools, a new chapel, exercise studios, a child care area as well as youth and community rooms.

Construction begins on Monday, Sept. 28, and even though there will be a new YMCA, the old building isn’t going anywhere. Wilken said he hopes to work with the city of Bloomington to continue to offer youth programs in that building.

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