The Andover YMCA branch, which has been closed since a devastating EF-3 tornado struck nearly a year earlier, is aiming to reopen its outdoor waterpark on May 27.
Ron McMahon is the CEO of Greater Wichita YMCA. He said, "We are cautiously optimistic, a few details need to be in place, but we're on our way." The waterpark will feature all-new features.
This includes a brand new splash pad as well as cabanas which can be reserved to celebrate special occasions.
Construction work is ongoing on the rest of this branch. It's expected to be open in 2024.
McMahon, speaking of the waterpark, said: "The bathrooms will be open here and it'll be an entirely different experience."
The YMCA will "build it better" than before, including replacing the underutilized rock climbing wall that was at the entrance. McMahon stated the structure was not used enough. It is being replaced with a unique, designed climbing structure for children from a company called Luckey.
The Luckey Climbers are climbing platforms suspended from steel pipes and cable. Luckey Climbers can be found at Union Station Kansas City, and at the Aquarium on the Boardwalk Branson.
McMahon stated that the structure would be visible from Kellogg and will be pleasing to the eye.
He said that it was a "really cool-looking" thing. "And around it, there will be other kids' activities, and it will all be turf. So it is a chance for families to get together... We're very excited about it.
McMahon stated that the plans for the new branch include a maker space and the transformation the old racquetball court into a Ninja Zone, which is a space where "gymnastics meets parkour".
According to a Facebook post by the Andover YMCA, the project includes 6,375 new blocks of limestone on the exterior of the building, as well as 22,600 square foot (63 tons) worth or glass.
McMahon stated that the opening of all branch buildings is "roughly one year away" due to supply chain delays.
SJCF Architecture and Coonrod & Associates are the team members of the design-build team for the remodel. This is the same team who built the original Andover YMCA back in 2009.
McMahon replied that "we don't really know what the cost will be just yet." He added that the project's total cost is likely to be higher than the original $20 million it took to construct the structure, due to the current construction costs.
The YMCA will partner with the City of Andover to host a community prayer breakfast for a year from 9am to 10:30am at Andover Central Park.
McMahon stated that the rebuilding has brought many people together. The YMCA relocated services to the rest of the region in order to continue serving its 20,000 members.