by Stephanie Eaton
A party atmosphere filled the air Friday morning as members of the Platte County Commission and officials with the YMCA of Greater Kansas City joined the local community to celebrate the completed expansion of the Platte County Community Center North in Platte City.
Balloons, food, a rock band and Platte County High School cheerleaders were just a few of the celebration groups and items on hand throughout the day to help celebrate the expansion.
According to YMCA officials, the Platte County Community Center North is operated by the YMCA and currently serves 4,300 people. Prior to the expansion the building was 35,000 square feet. However, the expansion allowed the facility to double in size. The renovated community center is now 75,000 square feet.
The expanded community center now offers clients a full-sized gymnasium, an indoor walking track, an eight-lane competition pool, a new activity pool with a resistance walking area, a new cycle and group exercise studios, a teaching kitchen, a community room to accommodate larger social events, an expanded child watch area, renovated wellness floor with cardio and strength training equipment and expanded parking.
Through the month of July anyone who becomes a member will receive a certificate for a month of free membership.
The Platte County R-3 School District will utilize the new competition pool for physical education programs and high school swim team meets and practices.
School board member Sharon Sherwood said the high school swim team has competed since 1994. However, because they have not had a place to practice they have had to travel off-site. Prior to the expansion being completed, the swim team was training in Leavenworth.
However, since the expansion has been completed Sherwood said there are eight swim meets scheduled for the upcoming school year. The first swim meet is scheduled for Aug. 28.
The school system was not the only group excited about the expansion being completed. The neighboring Mid-Continent Public Library provided land for an expanded parking area that will also be utilized by library patrons.
“We are very grateful for the citizens' support, and for all of the new partnerships that made this facility expansion possible,” said Jason Brown, Platte County presiding commissioner. “If not for the collaboration with the Platte County R-3 School District, the Mid-Continent Public Library and the City of Platte City, we would not be where we are today.”
Some community residents joined elected officials in their excitement at Friday’s event.
Myrna Newman said her family has had a membership at the community center for the past eight years. She said her son currently works as a lifeguard at the community center and is a member of the swim team. She said she decided to join the celebration so that she would have the opportunity to tour the new facility.
“I cannot believe it,” Newman said when asked to describe her reaction to the expanded facility. “I am so excited.”
Abby Newman said prior to the expansion project she would come to the community center with her friends. She said she will come to the center more now that the expansion is complete.
Zoe Sutley, 8, said she has been taking private swim lessons at the pool. She said is excited about the new pools at the center.
“I like it,” Sutley said.
Sisters Megan and Jenny Wade said although they just started swim lessons at the community center, they have been swimming at the facility for the last three years.
Jenny said she was excited to participate in the celebration “I think it is great,” Jenny Wade said.
Megan said she has learned a lot at the community center. She said she has learned to scoop her hands when she swims and knows how to hold her breath under water.
Megan Wade said she hopes to be on a swimming team one day.
“I love water,” Megan Wade “I wish I could be a mermaid.”