La Jolla YMCA breaks ground on renovation

Just after the La Jolla YMCA $15 million expansion and renovation broke ground (Sept. 8), the board hosted a lunch Sept. 18 to announce the start of the community capital campaign. The campaign will help raise the remaining needed funds — just over $1 million — for the 8355 Cliffridge Ave. YMCA project.

After the renovation, the facility will be named the Dan McKinney Family YMCA after donor Dan McKinney, who passed away in August.

“Today, we are asking you to be a pillar of philanthropy,” said campaign chair Cindy Murphy, as she read her favorite quote by George Bernard Shaw: “I am of the opinion, that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.”

She added, “In thinking about this quote, I think about the mcKinney family and Dan McKinney, because (in this context) he lived a full life. Let’s all life a full life.”

Murphy said a chief way to contribute is to fund a tile on the ocean mosaic planned for the new facility, with a choice of name or message on it. Donation amounts range from $250 to $5,000, depending on the desired tile size. During a previous fundraising campaign, the McKinneys donated four tiles with their children’s names in the pool area. McKinney’s daughter Molly, in attendance at the lunch, recalled getting her tile 50 years ago.

“Let us have our children come back 50 years from now, look at that mosaic and say ‘there’s my name.’ this is the indelible mark the community campaign contributors will be providing,” Murphy said.

Project architect Tim Golba said due to the generosity of donors thus far, and contributions to come, this project could be “done right” in one fell swoop. The new facility will feature a new aquatic complex with two new swimming pools, including a “spray park” for children, outdoor fitness area, childcare areas, an improved fitness center and locker rooms.

“You are going to get brand new state-of- the-art locker facilities, including family locker rooms, which will become a model for other Y (centers),” he said. “We’re going to have a new, huge state-of-the-start fitness center upstairs so you’ll be on a treadmill and be able to watch the sun set over the pacific. The new designs will add 100 new, oversized parking spaces. We are going to be a much greener facility now in landscaping, lighting and use of solar power.”

Construction is expected to take two years, during that time La Jolla YMCA regional vice-president Sue Mall said there would be monthly “what’s cooking at the Y” events “to keep our members informed about what’s happening.”

The Cliffridge YMCA location is one of two under construction in La Jolla, the Firehouse YMCA at 7877 Herschel Ave. is also undergoing a renovation. The Village location is expected to be complete in December.