YMCA renovations an eclectic blend of old and new

  • The Athol Area YMCA is undergoing renovations that blend the old with the new. Lisa Saviski of the Welcome Center staff, pictured, is working behind the new granite front desk. Athol Daily News/Kathy Chaisson

  • Renovations to the Athol Area YMCA lobby include new risers for the staircase. The YMCA logo will be added to the wall behind front desk staffer Lisa Saviski, pictured. —Athol Daily News/Kathy Chaisson

  • Athol Area YMCA Welcome Center staff member Lisa Saviski approves of the renovations being done. Pictured is the entrance way from Traverse Street. —Athol Daily News/Kathy Chaisson

Staff Writer
Published: 9/9/2019 9:50:12 PM
Modified: 9/9/2019 9:50:08 PM

ATHOL — The project isn’t done yet but the renovations being made to the lobby of the Athol Area YMCA are already creating a brighter, more modern look that greets the hundreds of people who walk through it every day.

General contractor William Harris of Harris Restoration of Baldwinville, said work began on Aug. 12 and that he expects to be finished tentatively in a couple of weeks. He found the 100-year old building at 545 Main St. to have “lots of surprises,” no hidden time capsules or treasures or anything of the sort, but areas that required updating. Harris said the original building was well-built with different things done to it over the years. The Main Street entrance is cordoned off during the renovation. The Traverse Street entrance is open.

The main role, Harris said, is to open up the lobby so people can see everywhere, with the intent “to keep the structure without losing the original woodwork integrity while still modernizing it.” A newly installed curved, granite front desk has replaced the long-standing walnut desk.

The contractors did a major part of the demolition and are also updating electrical work. The ceiling and walls have been re-plastered. Wooden columns now cover the pipes at the front desk, and there will be new risers for the staircase.

All of the wood is being saved for re-purposing. “Nothing’s being thrown away,” according to YMCA Executive Director Jennifer Gordon, who said she is excited about the project. She said it was decided during the planning, with the design being done on a napkin, to use an “eclectic blend of old and new” for the generations of people who have walked through its doors.

Some of the walls were replaced by windows “to create a feel of visual access.” Gordon said the contractors are also working on turning the lounge room into a small community coffee area.

The project is being funded by the George Alden Trust and the Amelia Peabody Charitable Trust. A ribbon cutting will take place sometime in the next few weeks, Gordon said.

The YMCA has returned to its fall hours, open weekdays from 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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