The YMCA Underwent a $40 Million Renovation
When President William Taft placed the cornerstone brick at the then-brand new Huntington Ave. YMCA in 1912, he could not have known the legacy he was creating. One-hundred-plus years later, the building is brand new once again—inside and out.
The YMCA of Greater Boston just completely a $40 million renovation, which was funded by selling part of the building to Northeastern University. In fact, the YMCA started Northeastern, says Kelley Rice, senior vice president of development and communications. “Not many people know this, but we actually started Northeastern,” she says. “It was started by the Y as an evening adult education program that spun out of Y programming. We sold the back portion of the building to Northeastern so they could build a much-needed dorm.”
It was that sale, along with a $1 million donation from Liberty Mutual Insurance, and a $150,000 donation from Arbella Insurance, that enabled the Y to undertake the massive renovation project.
“The work of the Y is no less important today than it was 100 years ago, with the mission to improve the quality of life for all, regardless of age, race or income,” says YMCA of Greater Boston President and CEO Kevin Washington. “With the changes we’ve made at the Huntington Y, we can now continue to grow with our neighborhood as a fully accessible building that can accommodate more members, and Boston’s diverse families.”
The renovation is an impressive mix of old (it features the last incandescent light bulb sign in New England, and all 250 bulbs have to be changed by hand) and new (high-tech spin, yoga, and Zumba studios in addition to a turfed area for HIIT and personal training). The renovation also outfitted the 102-year-old building with elevator access to all floors, a handicap entrance in the front, and a brand new pool accessible to individuals with mobility challenges.
There are also brand new locker rooms, a teen center with a game room and study center, and a community kitchen that will be used for nutrition courses and cooking demos to showcase healthy food preparation. Plus, all of the equipment is brand new as well. So, basically, nobody has sweated all over the ellipticals yet.
Even though the renovation made everything glossy and new, the Y made sure to keep its history preserved and it’s showcased throughout, including the two story oak lobby with ornate handrails, which were derived from its original staircase.
Below, some amazing before and after shots, along with photos of the new renovations.
316 Huntington Avenue; 617-927-8060; adult memberships start around $40 a month, inquire for details; ymcaboston.org