Officials share update on YMCA at Student Senate meeting


Selena Favela

Director of Campus Recreation, John Lee, speaks during public forum at Wednesday’s SGA meeting. To his left: George Sorenson, director of the Greater Wichita YMCA, and Jessica Provines, director of Counseling and Prevention Services.

At the Student Government Association’s Wednesday meeting, university and YMCA officials shared an update on the YMCA facility being built on campus.

The Steve Clark YMCA and Student Wellness Center, set to open in January, will be the new home for Wichita State’s Student Health Services (SHS) and Counseling and Prevention Services (CAPS).

Camille Childers, director of SHS, said this arrangement will create a convenient check-in and waiting area for both health departments.

“We will have access to x-ray on campus, which we have never had,” Childers said.

SHS will be able to refer students for x-ray tests at Wesley’s adjacent facility at the Student Wellness Center, Childers said. Internships for students in medical fields is another possibility.

“We have a lot of collaboration plans to go along with the YMCA to really focus on a holistic wellness experience for students on campus,” she said.

Jessica Provines, director of CAPS, said the new facility will increase the total space for both health departments from 9,000 to 15,000 square feet. One new feature is a group-therapy room.

Provines said the department’s current phone numbers will remain in operation at the new facility.

After the $17.5 million YMCA project was announced in 2017, all students with valid WSU IDs were given access to the nine other YMCA facilities in Wichita.

George Sorenson, branch director for the Greater Wichita YMCA, said there have been over 520,000 student visits at Wichita locations since they were granted access.

Students memberships will continue to grant access to other Wichita YMCAs after the new facility opens on campus.

For an added fee, members will also have access to the new YMCA’s Kid Zone, which will be a 2,000 square-foot area designated for youth programming.

The facility will have approximately 170 parking spots, including those allocated for ADA compliance and staff. Those spots will be designated YMCA parking spots from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We’ve been talking with Parking Services and we think we have a plan laid out,” Sorenson said.

Student Sen. Aaron Mounts asked if there would be any regulation to prevent people from parking at the Y when driving to campus for other reasons.

“We do know that people park outside of campus and it could be an issue, and I think that’s where we’ll have to be a bit fluid with that,” Sorenson said.

After the YMCA facility opens on campus, YMCA members in the greater public will have access to the Heskett Center.

John Lee, director of Campus Recreation, said he believes the decision to open the Heskett to non-student YMCA members was driven by the Heskett’s pool.

“It was the Y’s desire to engage the people in the 17th Street community on our pool,” Lee said. “I don’t foresee a bunch of people from the west side just driving to use the Heskett Center.”

“If we ever feel like we’re being overrun . . . then we’ll look at what we’re doing and make plans.”

The Heskett will stop offering personal training and group exercise by December, except for its F45 and Water GX programs. Campus Recreation will continue to offer intramural sports, sport clubs, swim lessons and more.

The Heskett’s cardio room has been repurposed for an esports hub, which will have a grand opening later this month. Facilities at the Heskett have otherwise remained the same, Lee said.