By Clint Parker
Woodfin – The YMCA located in the Reynolds Village in Woodfin recently underwent some construction and updating. The construction did not expand the center’s floor layout, but rather reorganized existing space to put the space the center has to better use.
According to Matt Coomes, associate executive director at the Woodfin Y, “We really didn’t do anything to add square footage. We just repurposed the space we had.” The Y actually closed for a few days as it underwent the changes.
One of the repurposed areas is the downstairs office space, which is now the child care area. “Parents [are] super happy now,” said Coomes, as parents do not have to climb the stairs with small children. That move opened up the old upstairs location of the child care area to group exercise. The Y also laid down new flooring in the old child care area and the meeting room next to it. The two rooms are separated with a removable partition, which allows the two to become one large exercise room.
“In Woodfin I really have a big pool in terms of membership and retention in our group exercise,” Coomes said. “So we really doubled down on our group exercise…that was our reason for doing it.” Coomes credits part of the Y’s success with group exercise to the great instructors that they have and the sense of community the group exercise builds with those who attend these classes.
Part of the remodeling effort was to remove some of the carpet in the workout area and replace it with a rubber flooring, “which makes it better for working out,” said Coomes. While Coomes acknowledged new competition in the area for members, he said the Y’s move was to embrace its strengths to continue building its sense of community.
“We have local competition moving in with these 24-hour places. It works for a lot of people, but you’re coming in there and not getting that sense of engagement sometimes because it’s usually one person on the floor, low overhead that’s just kind of their business model. Again, it works for some people, but a lot of our people come to the Y for that community aspect so they’re coming to meet other people and group exercise is one of the easiest ways.” Group exercise includes classes like Zumba, Yoga, spin cycle, and dance fitness classes.
Along with remodeling the facility they also got new equipment. The new equipment, some of which takes up a smaller footprint than the old, allows for more exercise equipment on the floor. “It was our turn to get some strength equipment and we needed it. We’ve had the same machines since the building opened. They [the machines] were built like tanks, but they were also outdated…the older machines were not as user-friendly,” explained Coomes. “We added more machines without taking up more space.”
Another group exercise class that benefitted from the remodel was the TRX Group exercise class. Originally downstairs, the class is now upstairs in the large studio room. According to the TRX website, TRX first started in “…the Navy SEALs,” and includes “…Suspension Training [using] bodyweight exercises [to] develop strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously.” The Y was able to double its TRX training equipment and has room for expanding.
They also added a padded weight lift area on top of the rubber floor to form a squat platform that reduces noise for members and the other tenants in the building. “It’s not that exciting when you hear about it, but when you see it, it’s state-of-the-art so it helps absorb any sound from anything being dropped on it, which will be great not just for our members, but our tenants below and above.”
“We were not going to be able to add on a whole new space to this building so we had to repurpose what we had while making sure we hit those high points we were already doing really well on,” said Coomes. “What our community really, really appreciates is that group fitness side…in addition to meeting new people.”