BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Somerset Hills YMCA is planning an expansion of its Mt. Airy Road facility to begin in 2018 and will soon embark on a capital funding plan.

Phase I will build an extension of the wellness center on the facility’s north side, adding about 7,200 square feet, which would double the size of the wellness center.

Phase II plans would add rear-yard facilities, including a gathering space/game area, a sand/grass volleyball court, and multi-purpose turf field and a paved walking trail.

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In 2014 the YMCA received township Planning Board approval to expand in two phases. The first was to be the recreation facilities, like a volleyball court, artificial turf field, walking path, grassed amphitheater. The second was to build a 7,049-square-foot gymnasium addition.

In March of 2017 the Y came back to the board to revise and "flip" the plan. It received Planning Board approval to enlarge the wellness center instead of the expanding the gym and to pursue the outdoor facilities later.

According to David M. Carcieri, president and chief executive officer of Somerset County YMCA, the expansion plan resulted from a facility review following the January 2015 merger of the Somerset Hills YMCA and Somerset Valley YMCA.  

“In addition to creating an expanded, fully-accessible wellness center to serve children, adults and seniors, the remodeled space will also accommodate specialized populations for group trainings particularly related to chronic disease programs and special needs programs, among others,” said Carcieri. “Additional fitness equipment will be added and there will be more space for functional training, stretching and floor exercises.”

He said the YMCA decided to “flip” its expansion priorities when a facility review found that the YMCA has experienced growth in programs that provide exercise for individuals with chronic ailments. It determined the current wellness center space is too small to best serve members, Carcieri said.