Visitors to the Keene Family YMCA in New Hampshire are often surprised by what they encounter.
Liz Coppola calls it the “wow factor.”
“Literally, there’s jaw dropping,” says Coppola, director of financial and program development for the Keene Family YMCA.
Open for two years, the custom metal structure rests on 10 acres of a 40-acre plot of land just outside Keene, a town of 25,000.
“A project this size for a community our size really is unprecedented,” Coppola says. “Things like this don’t happen all the time in Keene, New Hampshire. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime project.”
The 65,000-sf foot structure houses an aquatic center with two pools, a 5,800-sf wellness center, a gymnastics center, a suspended track stretching 1/12th of a mile, a group exercise room, six classrooms, two racquetball courts, locker rooms, and a 32-foot climbing wall—all within a building that blends into the rural environment.
“It was built on land donated to the YMCA that happened to be old farmland,” says Gary Dayharsh of Dayharsh Companies. “It was the requirement of the town and of the donor that the design fit into the surroundings.”
And it isn’t just catching the eyes of the locals.
The building earned a 2013 Facility of Merit Award from Athletic Business as an outstanding example of sports and recreation facility architecture. It also received Star’s Recreational Building of the Year and Star’s Builder’s Choice Master Builder of the Year in 2012.
“People love it,” Coppola says. “It’s open and welcoming and full of light. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful space.”
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