FAIRLESS HILLS >> YMCA of Bucks County has announced that it will temporarily reopen its Fairless Hills branch on September 8 to support families by providing much needed school age child care programs.
The unexpected need is a result of local school districts moving to 100 percent virtual and hybrid learning formats due to COVID-19 concerns.
Outside of child care hours, the Y will open its fitness center, pool, and gymnasium to Y members with adjusted hours, services, and safety protocols in place. Details can be found at www.ymcabucks.org.
In early June, the Y announced that it would not reopen its Fairless Hills branch after being closed due to the pandemic. Instead, following the conclusion of summer camp at the end of August, the Y would remain closed and begin its planned building renovation on an accelerated schedule, completing the project in 12 months instead of 18-24 months.
As local school districts began adjusting their instructional schedules to 100 percent virtual and hybrid learning formats, hospitals, school districts, and families began contacting the Y seeking a solution to the overwhelming need for school age child care to support staff and families this fall.
“For over 80 years the Y has served the Lower Bucks region by recognizing needs in the community and stepping up to meet them,” commented Zane Moore, president/CEO of YMCA of Bucks County. “As community institutions and families began reaching out to us for a child care solution, it became clear that temporarily reopening our Fairless Hills branch was the right thing to do.”
The Y is launching its Student Success Program to support families needing care for their children who will attend school in a virtual or hybrid format. The program is being offered countywide at six locations and already has 400 children enrolled. It provides two, three and five-day options to support student’s academic requirements in a safe, fun environment. Additionally, the Y’s on-site child care center in Fairless Hills will continue to serve children and currently has openings in its program for toddlers aged 18 to 24-months.
In addition to supporting families needing child care, the Y will support the health and wellbeing of members and participants by providing services and programs, outside of child care program hours. Since June, the Y has been seeking locations to continue serving its members through group exercise classes, and sports and aquatics programs in a “Y Beyond Walls” model during the building renovation.
“With many potential locations still closed or operating at a significantly reduced capacity due to COVID-19 response guidelines, finding locations to offer programming outside of the Y has presented an unexpected challenge,” commented Moore. “Being able to temporarily reopen the facility to members will help fill a gap as we continue to work to secure locations for offsite programming.”
YMCA of Bucks County successfully opened branches in Doylestown, Newtown, Quakertown and Warminster in July working in partnership with the Bucks County Department of Health while constantly evaluating safety plans and protocols. In opening these branches, the Y learned and implemented safety measures that will make it possible to appropriately social distance and implement cost-effective safety guidelines in the Fairless Hills branch.
The Y remains committed to renovating its Fairless Hills branch and will continue to take steps to prepare for construction to begin. The Y anticipates closing the branch following the holidays and beginning construction on January 2, 2021 and expects the renovations will take approximately 12 months.
Plans for the Fairless Hills branch renovation include a total overhaul of the current facility giving it a new, modern look. Space will be reconfigured within the building to gain additional usable square footage, while at the same time decreasing the building footprint to create additional and much needed parking. This additional space will allow for the expansion of the fitness center and the addition of a universal locker room and program space.
YMCA of Bucks County is a charitable, nonprofit organization committed to strengthening communities through membership and programs that foster youth development, healthy living and social responsibility for all. Annually, the Y serves nearly 60,600 members and participants at its five member branches, six youth education centers, and eight camp locations across Bucks County. YMCA of Bucks County provides $5 million of community impact annually in the form of financial assistance to individuals and families in need and free programming for veterans, cancer survivors, older adults and more. To learn more visit ymcabucks.org.