COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The YMCA of Metropolitan Columbus, Georgia held a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday morning at its D.A. Turner location on Warm Springs Road to celebrate the expansion and renovation that had taken place there. Speeches took place in a new gymnasium that had been constructed during the project.
“So what we’ve done, we’ve added a youth development wing to our D.A. Turner YMCA location,” said Chris Bryant, president and CEO of YMCA of Metropolitan Columbus, Georgia in an interview. “What is done, we added a gym and two classrooms to the youth development wing. And then, in our old gymnasium, we took our old floor, which was one floor, and we converted it to two basketball floors.”
Bryant said the expansion and renovation gave the D.A. Turner YMCA an increased capacity for programming and will give children a safe space away from the adult population.
The Loudermilk family has been a major local YMCA sponsor. Bryant said that 10 years ago, the YMCA of Metropolitan Columbus, Georgia promised to do something to honor their name. But due to the recession and a resulting lack of donations, it had to hold back on building the new gym.
“Opportunity presented itself in January of 2019,” Bryant said. “We started getting the process going.”
Bryant said there was a groundbreaking ceremony in January of 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and halted progress on the project. The building process began in 2021.
Antonio Mathis, youth sports director for YMCA of Metropolitan Columbus, Georgia, said he expects the D.A. Turner YMCA to attract more participants thanks to the expansion and renovation.
“We needed it,” he said. “We needed it. In the past that we had too many kids but a little space.”
“It definitely gives a chance for more children to be a part of our programs,” said Jed Tuiolosega, assistant branch director and childcare director of the D.A. Turner YMCA.
At the ceremony, Bryant gave a welcoming speech, and Dr. Jimmy Elder of First Baptist Church in Columbus gave the invocation.
Cecil M. Cheves, chairman of the board of directors for the YMCA of Metropolitan Columbus, Georgia, gave opening remarks.
“I’m still a little slack-jawed as I look at this beautiful, beautiful building,” he said. “And what we’re seeing is the reality of a dream come true.”
Cheves thanked all who had contributed to the project, who were listed in the program as:
- Loudermilk family
- YMCA board of directors
- YMCA members and staff
- Friends of the YMCA
- Thayer-Bray Construction
- Aaron & Clements, Inc.
- D&S Signs
- The Balloon Babe
“You’ve got to remember – 10, 12 months ago, this was a mud pit right here,” said William Bray of Thayer-Bray Construction.
Bray said staff at the D.A. Turner YMCA were cooperative during construction.
“It’s a privilege and an honor to have been a part of such a project and something that benefits our community,” he said.
Joey M. Loudermilk recognized his family members in the audience. He said he and they were pleased to be a part of the project. He described the D.A. Turner YMCA as a “clean, safe place to come and exercise.”
Attendees went into the hallway for the ribbon cutting. Jillian Albe, executive branch director of the D.A. Turner YMCA, cut the ribbon.