MUNCIE, Ind — Muncie Residents can expect increased activity around Muncie Central High School in the near future.
The Muncie Community Schools Board of Trustees passed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Tuesday night, which allows the Muncie YMCA to use Muncie Central High School Real Estate to construct a new facility.
The facility will be a joint venture between the two organizations. the YMCA will offer its usual services focusing on health and wellness in the Muncie community. For MCS, it will improve their “educational mission.”
Features of this Facility include:
- Outdoor play area
- Child watch
- Kids’ adventure center
- Teaching kitchen
- Small meeting room
- Multi-purpose room
- Men’s, women’s, and universal locker rooms
- Early learning center
- Administration offices
- Sauna/steam rooms
- Roof terrace
- Wellness center
- Three group fitness centers
- Indoor walking/jogging track
- Outdoor playground
Chad Zaucha, CEO of the YMCA of Muncie, believes that the partnership will be a positive for the community.
“The aim for this is to create a world-class gathering spot for the community,” said Zaucha. “We believe that we can impact the quality of place, quality of life, impact the economic development and strengthen the downtown core.”
According to the memorandum, Muncie Schools could transfer real estate in a variety of ways. However, the property will most likely be given to the YMCA “as is.”
In return, The Muncie YMCA is responsible for the construction and general operation of the facility.
Zaucha stated that his organization relies on the community to fund projects.
“It will be dependent on the generosity of the community,” said Zaucha.
Zaucha goes on to say that construction depends on the availability of resources and the gathering of community sponsors.
The cost of membership
Despite the board’s unanimous approval of the project memo, not everyone is on board with the concept.
Alicia Van Duyn, Muncie Central High School student and Student Advisory Board member, believes that the membership fees are too high, especially for low-income students.
“I come from the south side of town. I know a lot of kids can’t afford those types of things.”
Duyn is referring to the $15 monthly YMCA membership fee.
In the board meeting, Zaucha stated that some students can qualify for reduced membership fees.
Duyn believed that wasn’t enough.
“If we are going to have it in our student parking lot, I feel like students should have free access to it as much as they need,” stated Duyn.
The parking proposal
Chad Zaucha noted that, with input from Muncie civil engineers, zoning the parking lot is still ongoing.
However, he anticipates that the MCHS Fieldhouse, football field and the proposed facility to share a parking spot. The facility will be located on the south side of the high school nestled between the football field and the Fieldhouse.
However, Duyn anticipates problems with the plan.
She had seen a rise in the student and faculty body over the last few years and with the addition of the Y, she believes that the lot will not accommodate everyone.
Zaucha is not worried, however. He noted that as the facility is being built, the parking lot will be reconfigured.
A timeline for construction has not been set.