MARIETTA - The Marietta Family YMCA re-opened Saturday after being closed for five days for its second annual maintenance hiatus.
During the breaks, employees and volunteers alike clean and renovate the facilities.
Suzy Zumwalde, executive director of the YMCA, said the hiatus has become a yearly necessity to compensate for the aging structure of the 50- to 60-year-old building and the wear-and-tear that comes from being a fitness center.
"The purpose is for us to do projects that we can't normally do while people are here," she said.
As far as what members can expect from the week-long series of renovations, Zumwalde said they had stripped and waxed the entire first floor, cleaned and scoured the entirety of the building, repainted some of the rooms, done plenty of general maintenance and much more.
While the normal facilities were available to members Saturday, the YMCA's pool will stay closed until Sept 4. Aquatics director Jennifer Shoup said the process of draining and cleaning the aquatic center is incredibly time-consuming and slightly hazardous, centering on three workers switching off hourly for use of a power washer to acid-wash the pool.
"Safety is one of the most important things during this undertaking - making sure people have the proper safety equipment and instruction," Shoup said.
Zumwalde said on most of the days of the week the work was done by a small, dedicated group of about 20 volunteers and staff members. On Thursday, though, 40 volunteers from Marietta College came in to help clean the fitness center.
"I'm very impressed with how they're enjoying themselves. There have been no negative attitudes. In fact, it's gotten the staff to get to know each other better," Zumwalde said.
One of the volunteers on Wednesday was 44-year-old retiree Rob Noland, who said he is a faithful member of the YMCA.
"I'm an active member of the Y, and they've been very good to me. So I wanted to give back to the community. It's a good place and they're all very nice," he said.
Noland also said he was enjoying interacting and working with all of the directors of the YMCA who he had come to know through his time spent as a member - people like wellness director Chelsea Laswell.
"This is a chance to get back at Chelsea and her ab classes, by coming in here and watching her work and paint," Noland said, laughing.
As a part of the reopening of the YMCA after its renovations and as a way to say thank-you to its community, Zumwalde said they will be holding a special deal on the normal joiner fee for two weeks - a flat $5 cost to join for everybody, whereas normally it could cost up to $60.