• 05 JUL 16
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    Ligonier Valley YMCA addition offers fitness with a view

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    Photo courtesy of Katherine Nelson

    Article by Jeff Himler published on June 29, 2016 : http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/10701357-74/ligonier-ymca-fitness 

    Ligonier-area residents are able to enjoy fitness with a view since the Ligonier Valley YMCA completed a 32,000-square-foot addition featuring expanded opportunities for exercise.

    Y officials gave those attending a Wednesday open house a sneak peek at the new two-story wing, including a fitness center and spinning studio that offer second-floor views toward Church Street and Ligonier’s central Diamond.

    “This has the best view in town,” said Bob Cummings, who chaired the building committee for the $6.6 million project. “It’s really one of the highlights of the community.”

    Executive Director Larry Stormer said the addition has allowed the Y to increase its fitness area from about 3,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet. He noted the center is used by nearly 70 percent of local Y members.

    The enhanced fitness area includes 10 new interactive treadmills that motivate users by simulating treks along various routes, such as a wilderness trail in Malaysia.

    As part of the project, the Y renovated its existing gymnasium — adding air conditioning for the benefit of adult and youth sports leagues and Silver Sneakers senior exercise classes held there.

    “We’ve been able to add a whole new community wellness center that I don’t think you would see in many communities this size throughout the country,” Stormer said.

    Integral to the expanded Y, Cummings said, will be a synergy between YMCA fitness programs and the medical services of Excela Health, which has a 10-year lease on a 10,000-square-foot section of the first floor. Excela is moving its local family practice, headed by Drs. Hugh Brallier and Vincent DeCosmo, and lab services to the Y from another Ligonier location.

    According to Excela spokeswoman Robin Jennings, the new facility will allow addition of ultrasound imaging as well as aqua therapy, in two new therapy pools installed by the Y.

    “It’s nice for the patients to have physical therapy and the therapy pools here,” DeCosmo said.

    Janell Emery-Smith, a physical therapist at the site and a Y board member, envisions transitioning patients from Excela therapy programs to follow-up routines guided by trainers on the Y staff.

    Jennings said the new Excela facility is expected to open after the Fourth of July holiday and eventually will have a surgeon available one day a week to consult with patients.

    Stormer said 30 new rear parking spaces, reserved for Excela patients, will be available to Y members during hours when the medical portion of the building is closed.

    “I think the community is very excited about it,” Emery-Smith said of the expanded Y. “We got a lot of support from the community to make this happen.”

    “Fourteen months ago, we weren’t sure we could do it,” Stormer said. But, he noted, foundations and individual donors stepped forward with contributions to keep the project moving forward.

    He said the Y is hoping the community will follow through with another $850,000 to meet the remaining project fundraising goal.

    The Ligonier Valley YMCA also is looking to sign up new members and is waiving the normal fee for those who join through the end of July.

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