Construction has begun on an expansion at the Pikeville Area Family YMCA that will include an expansion of the facility’s weight room and the return of a community pool as the City of Pikeville helps to return a community pool to the area.

In addition to the return of the community pool and subsequent facilities required, the first phase of the ongoing construction of the 16,000 square foot expansion will include the addition of two party rooms, men’s, women’s and family/special needs accessible locker room and a 1,000 square foot extension to the YMCA’s weight room, according to YMCA Board Chairman Jerry Kanney. Other additions will include a warm water recreation pool and an extension to the current walking track at the facility, Kanney said.

Kevin Gilliam, of Summit Engineering, said his company has been working directly with the YMCA and Elliott Contracting in the design of the expansion.

“We have an area between the side of the building and an existing drainage ditch, and the expansion actually fits there really well,” Gilliam said. “We are adding a new corridor that ties the main lobby to the pool area so that with minimal staff, we can maintain the pool area. The main idea was a complete replacement of the old city pool, at the same size of the old city pool.”

With the pool remaining the same size, construction also allows for that pool to be made into a six-lane competitive pool that will meet certifications at both the Kentucky High School Athletic Association and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics levels, said Elliot’s President Harold Breahm.

Breahm said, with the current construction schedule, having the pool ready and open by Memorial Day 2020, as requested by the City of Pikeville, attainable.

“Our schedule shows a completion of the facility at May 2020. The site work is currently going on. We are thinking about six weeks to take care of that, then we can start footers and foundation to start bring everything out of the ground,” Breahm said. “For the city money, we will be publicly bidding for those projects and we anticipate being ready for bid in the middle of April. That is when we will start receiving bids for the large lap pool and the supporting structures.”

Breahm said the area where current work is ongoing is “a fill from the original” Cut-Through Project performed in Pikeville. That means, that area is having to be excavated down 10 feet from any structures, and, with the pool expected to be seven feet deep, excavation in some parts is as much as 17 feet, Breahm said.

Breahm said a unique feature is going to be installed to help with chlorine smells and damage caused by chlorine from normal indoor pool facilities, with that need being enhanced due to the many other features offered inside of the YMCA.

“With indoor pools, when you walk inside of the building, you smell a lot of the chlorine. This pool system is to be set up with an evacuation system with the pool drainage,” Breahm said. “It takes the chlorine smell and moves it outside of the building. With the system working, it keeps things from rusting and deteriorating as they normally do with a lot of chlorine and metal.”

Benefits and support

The YMCA board of directors has unanimously approved all portions of the expansion due to the benefits available to all members of the community, young and old, and the “tremendous support” received from throughout the community, Kanney said.

Vice-chair at the Division of Pediatrics at the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine and YMCA Board Member Dr. Seema Sachdeva said the aquatic wellness center will be “a blessing for our community.”

“It is going to promote physical fitness and wellness especially for the children and teenagers all across Pike County, as well as surrounding areas. I’m excited about the pool that will allow our students in schools and the university to participate in competitive swimming,” Dr. Sachdeva said. “The aquatic center will also be beneficial to adults with conditions like arthritis to achieve physical fitness and rehab which is otherwise hard for them. As a pediatrician I feel this will be a safe place for our kids and youth to have fun while developing fitness, endurance and character.”

She said with so many students in the area competing in competitive impact sports, when there are injuries, “aquatics can build strength and maintain fitness ... and they can go back to football or basketball.”

Former Pike County Schools District Superintendent David Lester, who also serves on the YMCA board of directors, said the pool and wellness center will bring a new dimension to the YMCA.

“We have something for a lot of the population of the area, but the pool will add another dimension not only for the kids, but it will also be great for adults and seniors,” Lester said. “We can bring new people in and provide new opportunities as a Y, as a city and as a community.”

University of Pikeville Teaching and Learning Coordinator Dr. Eric Werth spoke on the benefit of offering healthy living to all ages.

“When you have the very youngest to the very oldest in the community who can make use of facility in one way or another, you have something they can all do to get outside, regardless of the weather,” Dr. Werth said. “They can start early to build heavy lifestyles, take swim classes and progress all the way through to building the habit of staying healthy. It is a great thing for the community and for families to be able to make use of the center.”

Pikeville YMCA Interim Executive Director Shelly Justice-Fouts said the new center will hit each of the YMCA’s focus areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

“All of the opportunities that we can bring to the table for anyone, in all walks of life, it is going to be a health benefit to them. Our big social responsibility is safety around water,” she said. “Whether that is a pool, a recreation pool, a kiddie pool, a lake or a river, it is tacking them to be safe around water. And if they do get into water, teaching them how to safely get out. In addition, when there are days school is out, or a child cannot go to school, we can say, come to the Y.”

Board Member Sandy Penix added that one big benefit for the pool will be that people will not have to be members of the YMCA to come and make use of the pool after completion.

Each of the board members thanked the community and the City of Pikeville for their support.

“We have had tremendous support for this project and we especially want to thank the City of Pikeville for their support. We thank everbody involved for the lasting benefit for our community,” Kanney said.


The City of Pikeville is facilitating $1.5 million in funding for the construction of the replacement pool and Community Trust Bank will facilitate a $3 million fixed loan through Fahe to help pay for the facility.

“There’s a $3 million loan to allow us to get the construction started and once we get the construction completed, Fahe will take out a construction loan and give a 5 percent fixed rate loan for 35 years,” said Community Trust’s Wayne Hancock, who also serves as a YMCA board member. “We are excited for the pools, for the expansion to the YMCA and how it is going benefit the community as a whole. It will benefit the university, the high schools, the youth in the community and the adults.”

Community Trust Pikeville Market President Brett Keene said the bank is “happy to continue its support” for the project.

“The deal, with the way that it is set up, the 35-year deal makes the best sense for the YMCA and a much better benefit for the long term,’ Keene said. “We are happy to be a part of it. It is going to be a great addition to our community. I hope that we can see competitive swim teams in our area, that is one thing I hope to see come from the project.”

Community Ventures Appalachia Director Marilyn Payson is working with Fahe and Community Trust Bacnk to facilitate the loan through programs. She said Fahe has had recent experience with facilitating loans of this sort, by managing similar issues and similar challenges 

“We were originally going to do the loan as partners, but Community Ventures stepped back and Fahe stepped in ... so it made more sense to let them take it over. The program this is being funded through is called ‘Uplift America,’” Payson said. “None of the funds through Uplift America are going to be spent on the pools.”

She said Uplift America is a public-private partnership through UDSA funding that has only been open for 18 months. The YMCA project would be just the third project funded through the program.

“The program is excellent and I think we are going to be kind of the ‘star’ of the program because, A, we have been partnering, and, B, because of the role of Community Trust in this,” Payson said. “They have been absolutely fabulous to work with and have been very supportive of the program.”

In addition to the funding, Kanney said the YMCA has applied for grant money through the Abandoned Mine Lands Program, the Appalachian Regional Commission and foundation grants through American Electric Power and local banking institutions.

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