WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Watertown YMCA officially broke ground on its $27 million community center on Wednesday.

This project was first proposed in 2018 when leaders realized the organization was growing out of its downtown facility. The move is also timely in light of the recent closure of the YMCA’s downtown lap pool.

“We’re here because of growth,” Project Planning Taskforce Chairperson John Johnson said at the groundbreaking ceremony. The management team at the Y has delivered such a consistent. An exceptional member experience that we are out of space. It’s time for new.”

The new facility is set to a large-scale aquatics center, featuring a six-lane lap pool, recreation pool and splash pad, a multipurpose sports court, a wellness center, a child watch center and several studios.

The building where the center will be housed was most recently a call center, but previously was known as the Woolworth Building.

Watertown YMCA CEO Denise Young said its location is perfect to welcome all, including families and the nearby military community.

“People will be able to get to us will be fully accessible and fully inclusive. And that’s really important to us,” Young shared.

To get to this point, the largest capital campaign in the organization’s history was completed, and the Y overcome various ensure the building was safe for members.

Although funding has been an issue throughout the project, Young said they are ready to move forward.

“We are confident of our, all of our funding sources and we are ready to go full steam ahead,” Young said. “We still are looking for some grant funds. They’re out there and we’ll wait for those to come in.”

The Watertown Family YMCA Downtown Community Center is expected to open its doors in November 2023.