Bigger and Better: Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA’s Plans for Expansion

Photo courtesy of Kim Decker

Photo courtesy of Kim Decker

Cooper Tamase, Opinion Editor

The past few years have brought many changes to Scotch Plains-Fanwood, but the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA remains one of the staples of the community. With the facility celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, the staff of the FSPY calls for expansion. The properties behind the facility will be utilized, creating a new outdoor setting, while indoor facilities will be modernized and expanded, too. 


Many may not know that these development plans have been in the works since the pre-COVID era. Initially, these plans were a slow-moving process that wasn’t the main priority, yet COVID opened the eyes of the FSPY staff. 


Kim Decker, Chief Executive Officer of the FSPY discussed the need for the project.


“We actually started pre-COVID and had been working with an architect and engineer before we had to close in March 2020. When COVID came, it showed us how much we really need more indoor and outdoor space for our members. We waited a little while after we reopened and revisited and reworked the project,” Decker said.


When most were stuck inside and confined in their homes, the need for interaction-based activities rose. This need helped to influence the FSPY’s plans for expansion and the anticipation of updates to the facilities has been rising since the announcement.


Brayden Gal, a sophomore at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, is a frequent visitor of the FSPY and shared his thoughts on the plans for expansion.


“Usually I go to the Y to play basketball or lift weights with my friends. Even though I could always do those activities well enough, some of the machines did not work as well as others and I wish there were more machines and equipment to use,”Gal said. “I’m hoping that the expansion will involve the weight room and machine part getting remodeled and that new equipment comes too.” 


For the enjoyment of FSPY members, the additions involved in the expansion will include improvements to studios, the Wellness Center and swimming areas, as well as numerous inclusions. 


“One of the biggest is the addition of a new campsite on Martine Avenue, adjacent to our main YMCA building, which will include a covered open-air pavilion, playground space, multipurpose court and an open playing field. The large lower level will be transformed into two new studios, which will be used primarily for group exercise classes like cycle and yoga,” Decker said. “We are creating a larger Wellness Center for more area for exercise along with adding new cardio and strength equipment. We also plan to add a dryland area for our Swim Team, as well as creating a 2nd-floor seating area on the same pool. The last piece is the expansion of our lobby and café area.”


These new expansions and additions will bring forth more opportunities for the youth and adults belonging to the FSPY, such as sports, fine arts performing and more. 


The FSPY’s expansion plan will cost around nine million dollars; luckily there’s already been seven million dollars raised. It is encouraged that donations are made, regardless of the amount, to upgrade a chief element of SPF.