South Sound YMCA Set to Open Plum Street YMCA this Spring

The new Plum Street YMCA will be located in the former 5th Avenue Fitness facility after a full remodel. Photo courtesy: South Sound YMCA

When I was a child in the Midwest in the early 1970s, my parents turned to the YMCA to find enriching classes and camps so that my brother and I wouldn’t be bored and perhaps so we wouldn’t drive them crazy underfoot every day. Fast forward a few decades and I was signing up my own children for t-ball teams, indoor soccer leagues and swimming lessons. My children had active YMCA youth memberships before they knew how to read. If you are a family in Thurston County, it is very likely that you have enjoyed the benefits of our local South Sound YMCA, too.

South Sound YMCA history
The South Sound YMCA’s downtown Olympia branch has a long history in the community. Photo courtesy: South Sound YMCA

Since the YMCA’s founding in 1889, the organization has provided a safe haven for children and adults to learn and have fun together. The YMCA mission to be an all-inclusive organization is embodied in their four core values – respect, responsibility, honesty and caring. It is this commitment to the community and their members that has led to the decision to open a new branch which will be known as the Plum Street YMCA, located at 505 Plum Street SE.

“We want to make sure we have a user-friendly and accessible building for all,” shares Jake Grater, executive director of the South Sound YMCA.

The current downtown location is over 108 years old. The building lacks an elevator and the age of the building would not support necessary upgrades. “We want to provide a facility that meets the needs of the modern family,” he adds. With this in mind the South Sound YMCA is eager to announce the opening of the Plum Street YMCA in the spring of 2018.

YMCA downtown olympia
Many of the staff and trainers will come from the downtown YMCA as well as 5th Avenue Fitness. Photo courtesy: South Sound YMCA

The location has been a fitness facility for over 25 years and has a loyal following of clients who are thrilled to learn they can continue their fitness journey at the new YMCA. In fact, many of the instructors of the previous club were retained. While many of the staff and club members will remain the same, the facility is undergoing a major facelift including a brand new spin studio.

“We are investing in new equipment and making sure our members are going to love the newly decorated interiors,” shares Jennifer Willms, director of development at the South Sound YMCA. “The newly designed Plum Street YMCA will have on-site play care along with dedicated spaces for children and their families.”

The Plum Street YMCA will be a fresh and modern space that attracts even more families and individual into the downtown core. The most obvious benefit is the ample parking. The current downtown YMCA has no parking lot and relies on surface street parking for visitors. The new location has 53 dedicated spots and multiple street parking options.

YMCA Olympia
The new Plum Street YMCA will include Play Care for all members. Photo courtesy: South Sound YMCA

Swimmers need not worry about the lack of pool at the new Plum Street location. There is plenty of capacity for swimmers of all ages and abilities at the Briggs YMCA location. No classes will be cut. “Aquatics are a big part of the YMCA,” shares Grater. “And, we will have more pools in our future so stay tuned.”

The staff at the YMCA are excited and ready to embrace the new facility, but they also recognize many locals have emotional ties to the old downtown building. The building is not on any historical registry and therefore has no “historical” significance architecturally, but members and families over the past century have made important memories there. “We want to honor these stories and retain the emotional history that our downtown location has created,” shares Willms. Community members are invited to submit their downtown YMCA stories here. These stories will be preserved and shared throughout the transition.

“We are first and foremost a charitable organization,” says Willms. In 2017 alone the South Sound YMCA provided over $652,000 in scholarships and financial assistance to families in need. As stated on their website, “The Y is so much more than a gym. It’s a cause. Our cause is strengthening the community.” The YMCA recognizes that much of the need in our community is located downtown and they want to be a part of the downtown revitalization by playing an active role in serving those families living and working in and around downtown.

group fitness olympia
The new Plum Street YMCA will include more modern and larger group fitness areas. Photo courtesy: South Sound YMCA

The opening of the new Plum Street YMCA will include a Week Of Wow (WOW). Fun specials will be running and new memberships will be available. Visitors will be able to participate in group fitness classes, small group training and meet-the-instructor events. Of course, there will be fun activities for the kids as well. The YMCA website will be updated to reflect the latest news along with an announcement of an official ribbon cutting.

The South Sound YMCA has always had a strong commitment to our community and that commitment continues into this new chapter at The Plum Street YMCA. Stay tuned for updates on the South Sound YMCA’s Facebook page and take a peek for yourself as you drive down Plum Street over the coming months.


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