New Kid on the Block: Whitaker Family YMCA

When the YMCA of Central Kentucky opened its newest Lexington location on Oct. 31 – the Whitaker Family YMCA at Hamburg Place – it was families like Marci Kloiber’s that the Y had in mind.

Kloiber, her husband, David, and their two children live within walking distance of the new Y, located in the fastest growing part of Lexington.

The Kloibers joined the Y as soon as groundbreaking began for the new facility, and for a year they commuted to the High Street YMCA, watching eagerly as the new $20 million, 68,000 square-foot building went up on 14.5 acres off Sir Barton Way.

“We kept saying, ‘Is it ready yet?’” Kloiber said.

Now that it has opened, what does the family think?

“It has lived up to all our expectations,” Kloiber said. “It meets all our needs and the staff is wonderful. It’s been fantastic.”

Though Whitaker Family YMCA is the same size as the Beaumont location, its large windows, extra wide hallways and soaring architecture make the gleaming new building seem bigger.

You enter into an expansive lobby with double height ceilings and a full wall of windows. A snack and juice bar hugs one wall and the youth development wing stretches across the length of the first floor and is flanked by a full size basketball gymnasium.

Upstairs sits the 10,000 square-foot Wellness Center that includes 98 pieces of premium cardio, strength and free-weight equipment including treadmills, ellipticals, recumbent bikes and stair climbers.

Three studios, including a dedicated pilates room, are available for classes along with a three-lane walking/running track.

The aquatic complex features a two-story water slide in the recreational pool area, a 25-yard lap pool, a whirlpool, steam room and sauna and an outdoor splash park.

And with more than 100 classes every week (Zumba, pilates, cycling and more), members can work out on their own schedule or take part in group routines.

For families like the Kloibers, the YMCA is more akin to a community center than just a gym.

“We love it, and the kids adore the pool,” Kloiber said.

Between workouts for mom and dad and youth basketball practice and games, the Kloibers visited the Y eight times the first week it was open.

Kloiber’s oldest child, Xander, 7, is on a mission to pass the YMCA’s swim test, which would qualify him to play on the two-story slide.

“It’s all he wants to do,” Kloiber said. “At this new facility he can swim year round.”

Families are drawn to the new Y for its Childwatch program in the youth development wing. While parents work out, infants, toddlers and preschoolers can play in separate areas filled with toys, games… and playmates.

Kendra and Chris Mulder and their three children live in the area and joined as soon as the new Y opened. Jai-miah, 12, works out on her own now, Korie, 6, plays basketball, and Jolon, 3, loves the Childwatch program.

Four times a week, Jolon and Dad go to the Y together – Jolon plays in the preschool area while Dad hits the weights in the Wellness Center.

“If it was up to Jolon, he’d go six days a week,” Mulder said. “He loves it. He gets to socialize with other kids.”

For older kids, the Whitaker Family YMCA’s after-school programs take place in two large rooms – 900 square feet and another 3,500 square feet – ideal for games, tutoring help with homework and other activities.

This is in addition to the full slate of swim lessons and sports programs for school-aged kids, a hallmark of the Y’s community outreach.

The Whitaker Family YMCA is the newest in the growing YMCA of Central Kentucky network, which serves 68,000 people. That number is expected to grow to 100,000 in the next few years.

The YMCA’s other Central Kentucky locations are High Street, Beaumont, North Lexington, Jessamine County and Scott County. The YMCA of Central Kentucky also has a working arrangement with the Frankfort YMCA.

“The response from the community has been outstanding,” CEO David Martorano said about the Whitaker Family YMCA. “People know we have a significant reach in touching families.”

And the Y makes sure it touches families up and down the economic ladder. The Whitaker Bank Scholarship Fund gives help to families who are unable to afford a full membership on their own.

“The scholarship is based on financial need,” Martorano said. “We want to make sure everyone is able to be involved with the Y.”

Those who have seen the Whitaker Family building in Hamburg have nothing but praise for Lexington’s newest YMCA.

“There is something for everybody in our family,” Kendra Mulder said. “It is always very clean, always looks great and has amazing facilities.”