By Rocky DeSantis, Features Editor
The Atchison YMCA has been a rising topic on campus due to a petition started in response to changes in Benedictine students’ access to the recently renovated pool facilities.
Freshman Gunnar Kohlbrecher started the online petition last month, using a petitioning website called Change.org. The petition to keep the previous access for Benedictine students has generated over 300 signatures.
“The athletic director did not want to renew the contract that the school had with the YMCA due to apparent budget cuts,” the petition states.
According to Benedictine College Athletic Director Charlie Gartenmayer, the school cannot afford to keep the contract with the YMCA.
“It costs [the school] over $7,000 and we don’t have the funds,” Gartenmayer said.
Gartenmayer explained that the current deal for Benedictine students will continue through April. He is also looking for alternative methods for payment for the use of the YMCA.
“I am seeing if students next year want to use their own RavenBucks,” Gartenmayer said.
YMCA Executive Director Lorin Affield confirmed that the current rate of $5 a visit, not to exceed $20, is still in effect until the end of the semester, when the YMCA and Gartenmayer will reconvene and negotiate for the future.
“Our big focus is that we are providing access to the students and letting them use the swimming pool,” Affield said. “We are glad to have that partnership back and to be able to offer that to the students that want to come swim.”
Affield added that students who are members of the YMCA of their hometown can use the Atchison location for free due to the Y’s nation-wide reciprocity.
The Atchison Family YMCA and Cray Community Center reopened in December after months of renovations.
The process of renovating started on April 28, 2016. The project consisted of a $11.3 million capital campaign.
“The funding was all contributed income as it relates to the project,” Affield said. “It was all donated funds to be able to [construct] this new YMCA for the community.”
The new features to the community center include a community room, a teaching kitchen, a gym and walking track, a new therapy pool, an expanded health and wellness center, a new lobby and lounge, a multi-purpose studio, a Kids Zone and the renovated indoor pool.