OGDEN -- The YMCA is well on its way to building its first family community center in Ogden thanks to a donation of $200,000 from the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies.
The donation kicks off a yearlong campaign to raise $450,000 more to complete the center that will be built on Lincoln Elementary School property.
"This is the seed money we needed to really kick things off," said Richard West, CEO of YMCA of Northern Utah.
West said he is thrilled with the generosity of the Miller family and knows it will give the fundraising campaign some much-needed momentum. The plan is to break ground toward the end of 2013 and to have all the funding in place about one year from now, West said.
The building is expected to cost $650,000.
West has been working with Ogden city and the Ogden City School District for about two years to get the project going. He has been impressed with the diligence and interest the two groups have had in the project. Other nonprofit groups in the area have also been on board with the project to help create a community atmosphere in the north end of the city.
West originally met with Superintendent Noel Zabriskie and Mayor Matthew Godfrey; now he works with their successors, Superintendent Brad Smith and Mayor Mike Caldwell.
The Lincoln Elementary site was chosen because there are few community programs offered in the north end of town and officials wanted to see that change, West said.
Currently the YMCA has an after-school program at Lincoln Elementary, but it serves students only from about 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The new facility will serve students from 6 a.m. to 7 or 8 p.m. every day, all year long.
The plan is to also offer adult education classes, such as English as a second language and financial literacy.
The concept is similar to the complex that was built in 2010 in Taylorsville with a YMCA center adjacent to the school that has been very successful, West said.
The Ogden building can hold up to 100 students at a time, but it will be a revolving door with programs offered during the day for preschool and kindergarten-age students and then before-and after-school programs as well.
The school also will be used during those before- and after-school times when necessary.
A key component to the facility will be a large summer program.
"One of the biggest things we see is summer learning loss, and this way we can keep kids engaged all summer long," West said.
Holiday programs will also be offered because many parents still have to work on holidays and need places for their kids to go that won't cost a lot of money, he said.
West has been impressed with the interest and effort the Weber County Advisory Board to the YMCA is giving the project.
"DeWayne Ashmead and Ed Kleyn have done so much to get this going. It is really exciting," West said.
Other donors are stepping forward to help out now as well and West hopes that will keep happening, because the entire building will be constructed on donated funds.
For more information on donating or the new facility in general, visit the YMCA website at www.ymcautah.org/cfc-ogden.