Muskegon Community College will purchase the Muskegon Family YMCA’s West Western Avenue property on Muskegon Lake for $1.17 million as part of the college’s community-focused health and wellness initiative, which includes the construction of a new center on campus.
The MCC Board of Trustees approved the acquisition at its meeting on Aug. 19. MCC will use existing assets and none of the $6.1 million from the 2013 bond issue targeted for the new center at its Marquette and Quarterline location. Operation of both MCC’s campus center and new Western Avenue facility is designed to be self-sustaining.
MCC will pay off the YMCA’s existing bank debt to Muskegon-based Community Shores Bank and help pay off the YMCA’s loan to the Community Foundation.
MCC, which expects to complete its $14.2 million Health and Wellness Center and renovations on campus by early 2017, began discussions with the YMCA during the College’s year-and-a-half planning phase.
“We were interested in avoiding unnecessary and costly duplication of facilities and enhancing coordination of services,” said Donald Crandall, M.D., chair of the MCC Board of Trustees. “The college is firmly committed to addressing Muskegon County’s low health ranking in Michigan over the last 20 years. We will collaborate with other organizations while directing both our educational expertise and our community-centered health and wellness programming toward reversing that unacceptable trend.”
“When the idea came forward, it spoke to exactly where the YMCA Board was, which was at a point of redefinition, transformation and reinvention of what our mission was,” said Rod Hayhurst, the Muskegon Family YMCA Board Chief Volunteer Officer. “That included expanding beyond the walls of the facility into new partnerships. So we saw this through the lens of this being a trusted Muskegon organization that has a mission and goals that are very similar to ours. We saw it as being an opportunity to correct some of the encumbrances that we have had, that have bound us to not improving the facility and not being able to do some of the community outreach that we really wanted to do. “
“This solution gives the Muskegon community the opportunity to invest into a footprint and a location that is important for the downtown in a way that the Y couldn’t do by itself,” he added. “This presents an opportunity to upgrade that asset, develop the lakefront, and bring an academic presence that the college can offer in terms of curriculum development in any number of fronts that the Y could not.”
MCC has contracted with Illinois-based Power Wellness to operate both its campus and the West Western Avenue health and wellness facilities.
“We’re going to have to transform our programs a bit and we’ve got some time,” added Hayhurst. “Power Wellness will be a partner in helping understand and decide how to do that. Going forward, I see the Y wanting to maintain a presence at the Western Avenue facility. But this gives the Y the impetus to explore how to exist in other physical locations throughout Muskegon, which is something that we’ve been on the path of doing.”
The Muskegon Family YMCA will continue to own and operate Camp Pendalouan in northern Muskegon County.
“MCC will honor all current YMCA memberships, as well as, all scheduled programs through the fall,” said MCC President Dale K. Nesbary. “In the meantime, MCC and Power Wellness will begin a 90-day review of the current operations and make recommendations to best move forward with a viable and dynamic facility for the community.”