The design process for the Blair Family YMCA began with an extensive tour of facilities in similarly-sized towns throughout Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska. Facilities geared towards a specific emphasis were compared to locations with public/private community partnerships to develop a unique program that meets the needs of the Blair community.
The ensuing design contained two areas of focus. The first was to create a true community center that addresses the needs of infants to senior citizens, members of the Y or not. An enclosed, light-filled “front porch” was placed at the entry that allows members of the community to meet, congregate, sit, read the paper, etc.
Secondly, an organizational element was created that separates the large group exercise and wet functions from the small group spaces, doubles as a circulation spine, and allows for logical future expansion. This element or large concrete wall was designed to withstand the daily abuse of large groups and acts as a wayfinding device throughout the facility. A reception desk was integrated into the entry with direct views to both parking areas as well as the pool through the teen/active gaming area.