The YMCA of Greater Kansas City has sold the Blue Springs Family YMCA building to the Blue Springs School District and will close that building as a YMCA Oct. 30.
Meanwhile, the YMCA and city of Grain Valley have agreed to study the feasibility of partnering on a new community center.
The building has been on district-owned land since it opened in 1999, adjacent to the Blue Springs South High School campus. The district has always rented pool time from the YMCA for South's swim teams and some physical education classes.
Blue Springs Schools and the YMCA finalized the sale this week, and the district paid $1.5 million for the building. District spokesperson Katie Woolf said the funds came from savings on scheduled projects in the $99 million bond issue that voters passed in August 2018. No other bond project is replaced or canceled because of the YMCA purchase, she said.
YMCA and district officials say the transaction arose from the YMCA's decision that a new location in Eastern Jackson County would be best for its future and from the district's desire to continue having the facility to use.
“Earlier this year we had discussions. We had been determining what our different options were, and it came to light that the school district had interest in the facility,” said Paula Oxler, associate vice president of the YMCA.
“We'd already begun to evaluate the best way to serve our community, and we knew we had limited control of the property owned by the school district. Since the facility opened, our programs and services evolved, and we've worked with different partners.”
For Blue Springs Schools' part, it had to keep a swimming facility.
“Those two needs kind of met the last several months,” said Mark Bubalo, the district's activities director. “Having the pool gives us some flexibility in scheduling for classes at South.”
Bubalo said the district could expand physical education offerings for students and after-school training offerings for athletes. South has also been using some space for dance team practices, he said, and it's looking at moving the child-care facility to that building.
“We're taking a long, hard look at what all we can do there,” Bubalo said.
Bubalo said the district is looking at some possibilities for public use, such as how the Centennial Pool-Plex across the street from Blue Springs High School has public hours.
“We will look at similar, but we have not made any decisions yet,” he said. “We know the public uses the warm-water pool for exercise classes. But we want people to understand that after Oct. 30 it will no longer be a YMCA.”
Meanwhile, Grain Valley has started early plans to build a new campus on the former Sni-a-Bar Farm land for its city offices. The two entities will be doing to a survey of residents as part of the feasibility study.
“From the Y's perspective we're very hopeful,” Oxler said. “We'll conduct the study and make sure we have the input of residents. Is there the interest to sustain this in the future?”
Theresa Osenbaugh, assistant city manager of Grain Valley, said the city is looking at possible amenities with a new city hall, but it's “too early to make any calls” on how far the YMCA partnership will go.
“We've taken several weeks to see what partnerships they've had with other counties, like in North Kansas City and Platte County, and this is the first step to looking and seeing what our citizens want. It could be beyond the reach of what cities are able to do on their own.”
Oxler said the YMCA is working to place employees at other metro area locations or with community partner organizations as much as possible. YMCA memberships can be continued at other locations, as well. Current fall season sports programs will continue, and winter sports programs will continue because they are conducted off-site.