By John Larson
After 42 years of operations, planning is underway to build a new home for the Morgan Family branch of the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties. Located on 13 acres in the West End at 1002 S. Pearl St. near Tacoma Community College, the branch opened in 1977 to replace the original YMCA in downtown. That facility has since been converted into condominiums.
Loren Johnson, associate facility development director, has worked at the Morgan branch for 35 years, including a stint at branch director. On a recent tour of the property, he pointed out where the organization hopes to build a new home in the northwest part of the parcel, where a sports field currently sits. Once it opens, the existing building would be torn down. It would be open for use while work happens on the future home. “The intent is to keep the building open for the bulk of construction,” he said.
The new building would offer many of the amenities in the current structure, such as weigh rooms and a pool area. The future pool, for example, would have a spray ground and a lazy river, features common in newer recreation facilities.
The project does not have an estimated cost at this point. Communications Director Jonny Eberle said discussions on cost are underway with the architectural firm BCRA and the general contractor, Absher Construction Company. Fundraising for the project is underway. Johnson said some of the money could come from a bank loan or bond sale. Grants from the state government and family foundations are likely other sources of funding.
The project does not yet have a timeline. “Construction being construction, our schedule is fluid,” Eberle observed.
Johnson noted that because the branch is on land zoned for residential use, the proposed project required the YMCA to file for a conditional use permit.