Muncie YMCA kicks off capital campaign for new facility
Officials with the YMCA of Muncie on Wednesday kicked off the public phase of a $28.5 million capital campaign. The organization plans to build a new facility on the campus of Muncie Central High School in partnership with Muncie Community Schools, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital and Ball State University, among others.
The silent phase of the campaign has been ongoing for the last 18 months and has raised more than $25.1 million. The final $3.4 million is being sought through public donations and Muncie-based First Merchants Corp. (Nasdaq: FRME) is providing a matching donation up to $1 million.
YMCA of Muncie CEO Chad Zaucha told Inside INdiana Business the project is about impact, sustainability, and the power of partnerships.
“There’s a business case to what we’re doing; we have really too much house to take care of,” Zaucha said. “We have three membership branches that are basically serving the same market with the same program mix. We really couldn’t continue to do what we were doing and reinvest in the facilities and equipment and deliver programs that our constituents have come to expect.”
Zaucha said the organization plans to consolidate its northwest and downtown YMCA facilities into a new, 73,000-square-foot building. That, he said, will allow the YMCA to leverage resources and share spaces with its community partners.
The building will include an aquatic center that Muncie Community Schools will be able to utilize for team practices and meets, while the YMCA will be able to use the high school’s gymnasium and outdoor spaces for its programming.
Additionally, the new building will include clinic and educational space for IU Health, Open Door Health Services and Ball State’s Healthy Lifestyle Center that Zaucha said will provide a continuum of youth development and healthy living resources on one campus.
“We’ll have a health center where multiple healthcare partners…will be able to flex the space that we have, about 3,500 square feet in the new Y, to deliver behavioral mental health services, immunizations, vaccinations, a number of screening programs, as well as educational topics seasonally with experts that those health experts are able to provide.”
The new YMCA will also provide internship and professional experiences for students from Ball State, Ivy Tech Community College, Muncie Community Schools and the Muncie Area Career Center.
First Merchants CEO Mark Hardwick served as co-chair of the capital campaign’s silent phase and said the fundraising effort was difficult given the challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic,
“We were pretty confident that Chad and the board had developed a strategy that was would be good for the city of Muncie and Delaware County and that really could help drive economic development by making Muncie a better place to live and work,” Hardwick said.
Hardwick said the IU Health Ball Memorial Foundation was the largest single donor with a $5 million commitment. But it was a $2 million donation from Dan Towriss, CEO of Indianapolis-based Gainbridge, that helped the campaign reach the point where it could begin its public phase.
“Dan is a Muncie Central graduate, played baseball, and we were excited that he was happy to come home and help support a big initiative in his hometown,” said Hardwick.
While the campaign has been a long process, Hardwick said there is a lot of energy and enthusiasm surrounding the project, especially once the location was set in stone.
“This is the third site that we assessed,” he said. “We had one site that had some an existing building that would have to be torn down and, and ultimately, there were some infrastructure problems with that location. We had another that was the next to the pool in town, and it came against some amount of opposition from the community group just feeling like maybe there was a better spot. And ultimately, we did land on something that was better. The partnership with Muncie Community Schools is better than we ever imagined.”
Zaucha said the partners are hopeful they can hit their campaign goal in time to begin construction this summer. Work is expected to take up to 18 months to complete.
You can connect to more information on the campaign, including how to donate, by clicking here.