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story.lead_photo.caption The YMCA project includes renovations of current facilities. Photo by Olivia Garrett / Fulton Sun.

Like a physical promise of things to come, a new wing is popping up brick by brick at the YMCA of Callaway County as it celebrates 35 years.

"I would say we are within six to eight weeks of being in the new fitness center," CEO Sara McDaniel said.

The YMCA broke ground at the start of the year after years of discussions and planning for the expansion. Though there's still work to do, the structure on the edge of the current facility is getting close to completion.

"I walk in it almost every day," McDaniel said. "It's a dream come true and a long time coming."

Once it is complete, the YMCA will move in and crews will renovate the existing space.

"The plan is now for a seamless transition," McDaniel said.

The new fitness center will add significant space.

"The new fitness center will double the space that we have now," McDaniel said. "It will really just offer, in my opinion, a better place to work out."

Once completed, visitors will have access to new amenities including:

A 24-hour fitness center.

New weight machines, additional squat racks.

A multi-purpose court that can be used for activities like basketball, pickleball and volleyball.

A racquetball court.

Renovated bathrooms and locker rooms.

A kitchen/concession area.

Meeting space.

An expanded child watch area.

A new group exercise studio.

A new cross train area.

Though not part of the current project, the YMCA has talked of eventually adding an indoor pool.

"It will definitely add to what we're already able to do," McDaniel said.

McDaniel has been at the YMCA since 2006, and in that time, she's seen the work required to make the expansion possible.

"We've been planning for a long time," she said. "I'm excited."

The facility is celebrating in several ways this month as it observes its 35th birthday.

Members can bring a friend for free on Fridays this month, there is no joining fee for new members and the Y is having member appreciation giveaways and events throughout the month. The YMCA of Callaway County will give out muffins and cupcakes Oct. 28 to celebrate.

The YMCA is also having a virtual 5k next week, Oct. 18-25. Participants are invited to run 3.1 miles or be active by running, walking, biking or dancing.

Participation is free, but donations will fund outreach scholarships to provide financial assistance to those unable to pay for membership and youth sports and programs.

More information about the 5K can be found at bit.ly/3drX6zp.

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