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First announced in August 2017 the area's 10th branch location will serve WSU and the entire community is a unique, partnership environment.



The Greater Wichita YMCA and Wichita State University Open 77,000 Sq. Ft. Building

Intended to Better Serve the Health Needs of the University and Adjacent Communities

WICHITA, KANSAS (Tuesday, January 21, 2020) — Announced as part of a formal partnership between Wichita State University and the Greater Wichita YMCA in August 2017, the Steve Clark YMCA and Student Wellness Center on the Campus of Wichita State University will officially open with a ribbon cutting this afternoon. The building is the centerpiece of the unprecedented collaboration of two community-leading organizations who leveraged their resources and aspirations to more-efficiently empower the community through shared wellness resources.

Wichita State University approached the Greater Wichita YMCA about a student membership program and new facility to answer student and parent requests to improve on-campus health services and expand wellness and recreation options and to combat unhealthy trends. Nationally, 87% of college students report feeling overwhelmed by the demands on them* and more than half of all college students don’t meet guidelines for physical activity*. The resulting sedentary lifestyles and social isolation inhibits individual and, collectively, community success.

“As our student population hits historic highs, we are outgrowing student recreation and student health services facilities,” said Dr. Teri Hall, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Affairs at Wichita State University. “We looked at what we had and the options, timing, and costs to build and develop all-new facilities and didn’t see a feasible way to do it on our own.”

The Greater Wichita YMCA agreed to the partnership to serve student needs and for its own growth. Students have visited the Y more than 530,000 times since the program was launched. The Y is excited to engage with young adults as an opportunity to create life-long relationships of mutual support. The non-profit, mission-driven organization also saw the chance to serve the broader community at the same time.

“Different than with any of our branches, this location offers us a chance to make a lasting impact,” said David Shannon, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Greater Wichita YMCA. “We are excited to join with others to combat achievement gaps and health concerns and hopefully improve the community.”

In 2019 the Greater Wichita YMCA served 300,000+ community members through free- and low-cost advocacy programs including before- and after-school activities, job prep, and Late Night. The new space allows the Y to shift and expand offerings on campus and in nearby facilities. The new location offers community, social, and meeting spaces and energizing fitness spaces with pops of yellow intended to make every visitor feel like a Shocker student athlete.

“If you can get a kid on a college campus early, they are far more likely to go to college, which could change their life path,” said Ronn McMahon, President and CEO of the Greater Wichita YMCA. “We see opportunities to coordinate with Wichita State in showcasing learning, arts, culture, sports, innovation, and everything else the campus offers young people and getting them excited about college and Wichita State.” 

The Steve Clark YMCA will serve all Y members and the entire community. Wichita State student members will retain access to all area locations in Andover, El Dorado, Newton, and Wichita. The diversity of usage benefits all members as diverse people - in age, life status, ability level, and background – share time and build relationships around common activities and interests.

Wichita State University’s Student Wellness Center will offer health and mental health services to enrolled students at low cost through the Student Health Services department and the Counseling and Preventions Services department. Wesley Healthcare will, later in 2020, open an Urgent Care Center in the building. The facility will provide medical expertise and services to the entire community and offer services, like x-rays, not currently available on campus.

“The Innovation Campus provides a space to bring people together and to move us, collectively, forward,” said Andy Schlapp, Chief of Staff at Wichita State University. “Y and Wesley Urgent Care visitors will see our programs and facilities and, hopefully want to study here and the Innovation Campus offers applied learning and jobs to keep them here.”

* American College Health Association, NCHAII Report, Spring 2019 

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Since 1885, The Greater Wichita YMCA has been volunteer-led and mission driven and consistently empowered healthy lifestyles, strong families, and positive youth development for all in Southcentral Kansas. Today, we employ 1,400+ and serve 300,000+ of our neighbors in Butler, Harvey, Kingman, Reno, and Sedgwick Counties. We support healthy spirit, mind, and body through community development, education and wellness initiatives, youth and family programs, licensed child care and camp, and physical activity. Our 180,000+ members and the entire community have access to over a million square feet of fitness space across our ten area branch locations in Andover, El Dorado, Newton, and Wichita as well as four seasonal, outdoor water parks (Andover and Wichita), two indoor/outdoor sports complexes (Andover and Wichita), and Camp Hyde (Viola). Our annual Strong Community Campaign ($2.8MM in 2019) which funds our free and reduced-costs programs and enables scholarships, grants, and income-based member and program pricing for those who qualify allow us to honor our commitment to serve all, regardless of their ability to pay. Learn more here

Wichita State is distinctive for opening pathways to applied learning, applied research and career opportunities, alongside unsurpassed classroom, laboratory and online education. The university's beautiful 330-acre main campus is a supportive, rapidly expanding learn-work-live-play environment, where students gain knowledge and credentials to prepare for fulfilling lives and careers. Students enjoy a wide selection of day, evening and summer courses in more than 200 areas of study at the main campus and other locations throughout the metro area and online. WSU's approximately 16,000 students come from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 other countries. Wichita State's Innovation Campus is an interconnected community of partnership buildings, laboratories and mixed-use areas where students, faculty, staff, entrepreneurs and businesses have access to the university's vast resources and technology.

Category: News
Jan. 21, 2020