UW Tacoma and YMCA announce partnership for new development
UW Tacoma and the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties are collaborating to build a full-service Y located on the UW Tacoma campus. It will serve UW Tacoma students, faculty and staff, as well as all Y members. This innovative partnership is built on the common commitment of both institutions to serve community.
“This collaboration will create a tremendous resource for both our students and the Y with a building and set of programs that jointly provide so much more than either institution could offer on its own,” says UW Tacoma Chancellor Debra Friedman. “We are proud of this innovative collaboration, which will serve as a best-practice model for urban-serving universities like UW Tacoma.”
“The Y looks forward to offering health and well-being services to UW Tacoma students, and expanding offerings to Y members and the community,” says the Y’s President and CEO Bob Ecklund. “Healthier students contribute to an overall healthier community.”
Tacoma and the Y are exploring a 55,000- to 70,000-square-foot facility at South 17th Street and Market Street in downtown Tacoma. Students will benefit from the Y’s expertise in offering health and wellness programs. The project is in a preliminary stage of development but the expected amenities could include cardio and weight rooms, group exercise rooms, a gymnasium, locker rooms, and a child watch area. In addition, students will determine how to utilize spaces dedicated for student assembly, student government, and other student activities.
The facility will be open to all UW Tacoma students, faculty, and staff, to current Y members, and will enhance Y offerings to its growing downtown membership. One of the special features of this arrangement, especially important to UW Tacoma students, the majority of whom live throughout the South Sound, is that they – like all members of the Y – will have access to any of the seven YMCA healthy living facilities throughout Pierce and Kitsap Counties.
“This is also a tangible example of two Tacoma-based organizations working together to build the social and economic capacity of our city,” says Ecklund.
Elizabeth Pierini, president of the Associated Students of UW Tacoma, looks forward to having a centralized place on campus where students will come together outside of class to be healthy and active, while having access to a wide range of student services that will be located in the center, such as clubs, events, student government and other services. What those services and activities will be will depend largely on student input on the project over the next few months.
“It’s going to be amazing. The center will really help build a greater sense of community for students outside of class,” says Pierini. “Students are excited to be working with the Y and building a community partnership. It’s a great stepping stone for getting students involved on campus and will provide opportunities for students to connect with the community.”
Last year, a student center planning committee explored how UW Tacoma could build a recreation center and student union, which were identified as top priorities among students in a comprehensive survey of students a few years earlier. This University Y will combine both the functions of a recreation center and student union.
A process kicks off next week to give all UW Tacoma students opportunities to share what they’d like to see in the center. An open forum is scheduled to present preliminary plans and solicit feedback on Jan. 23, 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. in the Longshoremen’s Hall, located at 1710 Market Street. The forum for students is open to the community as well. The recreation and activity center will be funded through a student fee, as similar facilities are on other campuses across the country
“There is a lot of work to be done to generate all the student feedback and to engage them not only with the design of the building, but in how it will take the campus to the next level of service,” says Pierini. In the next several months, UW Tacoma officials will work with UW (Seattle) offices of Planning and Budgeting, Treasury, and Capital Projects Office to finalize plans, and in late spring expect to take this to the UW Architectural Commission and the UW Board of Regents for review and approval.
UW Tacoma is an urban-serving university campus, presently serving more than 4,000 students, that seeks to build academic offerings, expand its physical campus and provide student services through mutually beneficial partnerships with its community.
The Y’s vision is to provide access to balanced health to all by working through collaborations and partnerships. The University YMCA would contribute to the 130,000 people currently being served by the Y through healthy living facilities and outreach programs.