Niles-Buchanan YMCA expansion moving forward

NILES — Adding square footage is just the beginning for the Niles-Buchanan YMCA as new construction will begin moving forward at the location on N. Front Street.

The Niles-Buchanan YMCA will share its ground-breaking ceremony for its Capital Expansion virtually 9 a.m. Thursday on its Facebook page. The ground-breaking kicks off the $2.5 million expansion that the YMCA location has had in the works for years.

Prior to COVID-19, the staff with the Niles-Buchanan YMCA hoped to host an in-person ceremony to commemorate the groundbreaking. Instead, at the event time the organizers will release a pre-recorded video in the celebration’s place.

“It’s premiering a video that we’ve made with some of the key partners, donors,” said Jill Haboush, vice president of the fund development and marketing for the YMCA of Greater Michiana. “We will have the mayor speak. Our board chair will speak, and our CEO will speak.”

The expansion will add approximately 13,700 square feet to the facility and include a full-size gymnasium, youth and teen centers, and a fitness room.

“The whole premise is in the title of the expansion, with the campaign ‘Changing Lives and Improving Health,’” Haboush said. “For our teen and youth community, we want to provide them a safe place to be for that after school care, that after school homework assistance, a healthy snack, the physical activity.”

“It also leads to that improving health not just for the kids but our members as well. Having that additional space will allow for the healthier community in general with so many people as members of the Y here.”

Since 2011, the idea to expand the Niles-Buchanan YMCA has been on the minds of those working at the location, according to Haboush.

“It’s a long time coming,” she said. “We had actually gotten approval from the city [of Niles] for the expansion in 2019, when we met with the contractor.”

According to paperwork highlighting the growth of the Niles-Buchanan YMCA for the Capital Expansion, the location’s membership grew from 1,050 in 2007 to 7,474 in 2017.

With the South Bend-Mishawaka YMCA building announcing its closure on May 26, members of the location have been directed to utilize other area facilities including the Niles-Buchanan and Benton Harbor-St. Joseph branches, as they reopen.

“It was coincidental that the construction crews were available to start [Niles-Buchanan YMCA capital expansion] during the same time frame of the South-Bend Mishawaka YMCA building closure,” said Kayla Foster, marketing director for the YMCA of Greater Michiana.

The original groundbreaking date was estimated to take place by Pearson and Tera Architects in December 2019, but officials from the YMCA did not want to risk poor weather conditions for building and postponed the groundbreaking until March. In March, COVID-19 mandates pushed the groundbreaking back further. Now, Haboush is excited to see the construction finally beginning. The estimated length of the build is between six and eight months.

“We are hoping to get dirt moving by next week,” she said.

Education

Niles Community Schools’ remote platform allows students to go at own pace

Business

Dowagiac business donates backpacks, school supplies to students in need

Cassopolis

Miss Cassopolis Scholarship Program hosting school supply drive

Berrien County

Berrien County Health department gets blunt on marijuana education, safety

Cass County

Two Dowagiac men sentenced Friday in Cass County Court

Cass County

Cass County works to expand broadband access

Edwardsburg

Ontwa Township passes 2.25 percent millage increase

Berrien County

Local talent development leader honored by Michigan Works! Association

Cassopolis

Cassopolis awards preliminary marijuana licenses

News

Niles police chief looks forward to continuing work with city, two departments

Cass County

North Pointe Center class partners with church for cemetery cleanup project

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan sees 113,863 cases, 6,623 deaths

Cassopolis

Cass County to partake in annual Crop Hunger Walk

Brandywine Education

Performing Arts Workshops launches memorial fundraising campaign

News

Court of Appeals rules secretary Benson acted lawfully in mailing absentee voter ballot applications to registered voters

Dowagiac

SMC welcomes new dean of business, advanced technology

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Elks to host annual Guys & Dolls Golf Outing

Cass County

Michigan Works! closes central office, opens three new locations

Berrien County

MSP traffic stop data reveals need for deeper study

Berrien County

Ballard staff member tests positive for COVID-19

Cass County

Two arrested on meth charges in Pokagon Township

Berrien County

Lakeland Heart and Vascular earns testing reaccreditation by IAC

News

Court of Appeals: Absentee ballot mailers were lawfully distributed

Cassopolis

Our Father’s Family Keeper Ministries helps families in need during pandemic