Midway YMCA

St. Paul, MN

The 63-year-old YMCA on University Avenue in St. Paul was like other buildings of a similar vintage: charming, quaint, but not really up to the job anymore. Building a new Y on the same location meant a complete teardown and rebuild – which meant not only working in a tight area, but shifting some Y functions such as fitness and weight rooms to a leased building down the block.

“The limited staging area was a factor,” said Jon Jasken, senior project manager for contractor McGough Construction. “But for a project in the city it wasn’t out of the ordinary. There are always things you need to account for when it comes to a project just off a busy city street like University Avenue.”

The new $16.4 million, 53,572 square foot building offers a pedestrian entry along the Metro Transit Green Line and Dickerman Park, along with an expanded parking lot in back. The building’s south façade has floor-to-ceiling windows while the north side has a new aquatics center that includes a four-lane lap/leisure pool, a current channel, water exercise platform and a waterslide.

The building’s “Big Flex” system makes the most of limited space with a system of operable acoustical partitions that helps it adapt and reconfigure from a full sports court accommodating basketball into smaller, multi-use spaces for meetings or smaller-scale athletics. The facility also includes features that probably didn’t exist at your father’s YMCA, such as the demonstration kitchen that offers cooking classes with a chef.

The biggest challenge was probably the compressed schedule, which called for everything to be done in 10 months. “But it was mostly completed almost two months ahead of schedule,” said Jasken. “Everything other than the pool was complete by the end of the year, and that took one more month – we turned that over at the end of January 2016.”

Wells Concrete placed 442 pieces of precast concrete for this project, the walls finished with acid etch and water wash. Architecturally finished load bearing insulated walls were used at the exterior.  A combination of white and black concrete colors were used to complement the industrial look of the neighborhood. 8” and 10” solid load bearing walls were used at the interior.  42” deep long span double tees were used over the pool area due to the corrosive environment.  Precast hollow-core plank was utilized as the floor structure.

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