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Morris Community YMCA Transitioning to Morris Hospital YMCA


Pictured above (L-R): capital campaign leadership cabinet co-chair and Greater Joliet Area YMCA board member Kevin Olson, Greater Joliet Area YMCA chief operating officer Missy Durkin, and capital campaign leadership cabinet co-chair and Greater Joliet Area YMCA board chairman Guy Christensen. Image courtesy of Greater Joliet Area YMCA.

After years of planning, the Morris Community YMCA recently selected DesignGroup as the architect for a new, 50,000-square-foot YMCA in Grundy County, Illinois.

The new Y will include a state-of-the-art wellness center, youth enrichment spaces, multi-purpose rooms, a gymnasium and the community’s first fully accessible aquatic center as a signature element of the project. The new facility will also operate in partnership with Morris Hospital and Healthcare Centers. The center will blend prevention, wellness and rehabilitation services to provide a continuum of care for Grundy County residents.

Missy Durkin, the chief operating officer of the Greater Joliet Area YMCA, said the future center will be a hub for the community for generations to come.

“It’s difficult to put into words how exciting it was to finally share this announcement with residents in Grundy County and the surrounding area,” said Durkin. “The full-facility YMCA has been a long-awaited project for the community, but over the past two years, its importance has only grown. During the pandemic, we were reminded of the importance of not only community but the value of connections and a sense of belonging.”

The Project’s History

Durkin said the Greater Joliet Area YMCA has had a programming presence in Morris and Grundy County in 2006. Since then, the vision of a full facility is a priority for residents.

Acting as a branch of Greater Joliet Area YMCA, the Morris Community YMCA opened its doors in 2015 with a temporary downtown location. The formal effort to pursue the full facility began in 2017 with the completion of updated market and feasibility studies. Their capital campaign launched shortly after in 2018.

“Over the past four years, a dedicated group of volunteers has worked tirelessly behind the scenes in the quiet phase of the campaign to lead us to this exciting public announcement,” said Durkin. “A project of this magnitude requires the community to work together. The Y has been blessed with an incredible team of volunteers who have championed this initiative from Day One.”

The support garnered from the capital campaign has brought the Y to 80% of the overall goal. Leadership cabinet co-chairs, Kevin Olson and Guy Christensen, recruited a 30-person team of volunteers to lead the effort.

“The outpouring of support has been generous and diverse with contributions coming from individuals and families, local municipalities, corporations and small businesses, grants, and 100% participation from our volunteer metropolitan board of directors,” said Durkin. “The future facility will be named the Morris Hospital YMCA in recognition of the hospital’s generous lead gift and continued partnership.”

DesignGroup and Next Steps

DesignGroup is an AIA Ohio Gold Medal architecture and design firm founded in 1972 with offices in Columbus and Pittsburgh. Durkin said the firm has been active in the Grundy County community for more than 25 years and has led award-winning projects throughout the country.

“Their team possesses a firm grasp and appreciation for the stewardship of the donor dollars that have been raised to support this project,” said Durkin. “DesignGroup understands the Y’s mission and our intention to use this new facility to strengthen community and improve the quality of life for residents of all ages.”

Moving forward, she said work will continue with DesignGroup to fully complete the plan’s development. Then, a bidding process for construction will take place later this year.

Overall, the hope is for the official ground-breaking ceremony to take place in spring of 2023. Tentatively, the Morris Hospital YMCA is scheduled to open its doors to the community in early 2025.


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John Reecer

John Reecer is an assistant editor at Peake Media.

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