Reno YMCA's Future?

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The building just turned sixty years old... But it was no celebration for its current tenants: The YMCA. One of the first things to go because of old age is the steam boiler... that's used to heat the facility.

"A 60-year old system like that is going to have problems and it's just constantly shutting down. And, it's getting harder and harder to find the replacement parts for it. And I'm sure you know what heating oil costs are doing this winter -- it's becoming astronomical. The roof leaks, the pool is failing," says Mark Lieske, the President and CEO of Reno's YMCA

To fix the problems Lieske says it would cost them an estimated twelve and a half million dollars.

The question is -- is it worth it??

"That's 137 dollars per square foot--you can't even buy many new houses for that and still that's a huge, huge number. And so the board is really doing its homework to see if that's the right thing to do. Or is there a better way to fix this and serve our community."

The YMCA has formed a task force to explore those options: pay the money and renovate the building... OR find a better location and start from scratch.

The YMCA promises its members that if it does relocate, it will remain in Reno's core: somewhere south of Highway 80, possibly in the downtown corridor.

"Traffic is getting more congested and it's getting harder to get places. If you can get yourself closer to where people work and are already going, it makes their life easier."

Until any decision is made -- which Lieske hopes will be soon -- some members have complained that the facility and its services are deteriorating. Others, however, are more circumspect about the situation.

"All the complaints are probably based on the age of the building. Things are older so when you compare it to a new facility that people are going to, it's probably tough to compare to that," says Mike York a YMCA Member for the last twenty years.

"I just come in to take care of my business. As long as the treadmill is working and the weights are working, it's fine. I try not to pick on the small things," adds Ethan O'Bryant a YMCA Member for the last ten years.

Lieske says that the overall YMCA system is in great health, and that 1 in 9 people are involved with the organization.

Furthermore, he says YMCA is the fourth largest membership organization in the world...after the Roman Catholic church, the Southern Baptist Convention and A-A-R-P.