In only six months of construction and just in time for the 2019 school year, the South end of the Woodson YMCA has been completely transformed into a vibrant Child Care facility. This exciting milestone is part of the comprehensive Woodson YMCA Expansion and Modernization Project for which Ghidorzi is serving as design builder and master planner.
Our Design Build team worked collaboratively with the YMCA to identify their needs before putting pencil to paper to craft the best experience for childcare staff, children and parents, utilizing existing space in the building that dates back to 1963. Everything from relocating current YMCA programming to evaluating the structural integrity of the space had to be considered before renovation of the space could begin.
The result of the master plan included the following highlights:
- Increasing square footage and capacity to accommodate 54 additional infants, toddlers and children in an effort to meet increased demand for child care in our community.
- One consolidated facility for better programming organization, optimal circulation, increased child security and agreement with the city of Wausau to engage Yawkey Park.
- A highly functional and efficient layout for an improved staff, child and parent experience.
- Sustainable and high-quality materials to enhance the value and longevity of the space while realizing cost savings for the overall project.
- Creative solutions to maintain an operational facility seven days per week during construction.
Increased capacity was achieved by careful planning and re-design of the existing footprint of the Woodson YMCA’s South end. Our Design Build team was able to consolidate all Child Care Center spaces by relocating existing program space on this level to other areas of the renovation and expansion project. Wasted space from dated mechanicals was also converted to usable square footage. After consolidating the Child Care Center to the main level, our team then began situating each area of the Child Care space for the best user experience while meeting each licensing standard. Our extensive space planning process resulted in increased programming organization, optimal circulation, enhanced child security and agreement with the city of Wausau to engage Yawkey Park.
This single, consolidated facility now features a central layout with each Child Care room situated around the perimeter to maximize room space, exposure to exterior natural light and convenient access to the outdoors. Each room is specially designed for the age range of the children it serves, including built-in case goods and floor coverings to compliment activities for each room space. The number of restrooms was increased for the comfort of and convenience of staff and children.
A central corridor connects each Child Care room for improved building flow and features planned spaces to accommodate car seats, strollers and backpacks. Additionally, each child’s room is identified with a bright color for easy wayfinding and a vibrant atmosphere. Flooring was selected for easy cleaning and added warmth in each corridor and Child Care room.
The interior of the central layout features ample storage and a full-service kitchen to support the entire center with healthy food options. A centrally located resource room was created exclusively for Child Care staff for organization, collaboration and relaxation.
Security of the entire Child Care Center has been enhanced. All entrances to the existing YMCA facility are secured with code-locking doors to allow staff and children to move throughout the building while keeping other YMCA members and the general public out of the Child Care space. Two dedicated entrances to the Child Care Center for parents and staff have also been established off Grant Street and 3rd Street. Each was developed with special consideration for strollers, car seats and heavy foot traffic during child drop-off times. The main entrance off 3rd Street provides clear sightlines to the reception area from the exterior and acts as a main welcome hub for all users. The Child Care Director’s office is also intentionally located with connections to the Child Care Center and the general YMCA facility to enhance communication between both entities.
Life safety for children and staff has also been improved by implementing video monitoring and sprinklers throughout the entire facility as well as providing all necessary rooms with direct outdoor access.
Sustainable Design and Construction
Our experienced Design Build team recognized high-quality materials used during construction of the original YMCA building. We were able to salvage and utilize much of the existing structure to enhance the sustainability of the project and realize cost savings for the client. Our team evaluated the integrity of the existing structure for safety and efficiency. Much of the existing structure was left in place and outfitted with modern HVAC, LED, insulation and light sensor technology to reduce operating costs of the building into the future.
Additional Planning Considerations
Creative solutions were also implemented by our Design Build team to maintain full operations of this seven day per week facility. With creative thinking and collaboration, Child Care services remained open for parents and children throughout construction. The facility met its strict deadline to be operational in the newly renovated space by the start of the 2019 school year.
The Woodson YMCA renovation and expansion project continues to move forward throughout the building with opening dates set for these program areas later this fall:
- New Fieldhouse with Upper Level Running Track
- Program Gym
- The Landing Senior Activity Center
- Renovated Wellness Center