The Stonestown Family YMCA is setting a new precedent for not only community rec centers, but fitness facilities across the nation. Upon completion of a $4 million renovation project, the Stonestown Y received the WELL Certification from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), an organization that focuses on how buildings can enhance people’s health and wellness.
A part of the YMCA of San Francisco association, the Stonestown Y is the first fitness facility to ever be WELL-certified. The facility and its leadership team received the certification at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, June 18.
“It’s really exciting to be a pioneer in this, and be able to influence the direction of the standard itself in the fitness area,” said Josh Leonard, the senior executive director of the Stonestown Y. “It’s something we’re very proud of.”
For both the Stonestown Y and IWBI, this capital improvements project was uncharted territory — however, the Y’s building performance was still measured by IWBI’s basic standards.
“The WELL building standard is built around seven different feature areas — air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind,” said Leonard. “There’s a series of stringent standards under each one of those you have to meet as you’re building the facility to be certified.”
The major focus of the renovation was improving these seven areas of the Stonestown Y. According to Leonard, the following is a brief summary of the upgrades each area got:
The primary focus of the WELL certification is ensuring a building is delivering and maintaining health and wellness standards at the highest level. And in the Stonestown Y, the capital improvements to meet these standards have made the facility feel brand new, even though the actual space of the building was increased.
“Four million dollars gave us a pretty dramatic transformation of the building,” said Leonard. “It took a building that felt pretty dark and felt pretty old, and really brought a lot of new light to it.”
These changes have already resonated well with the community. “We gained a lot of members from it,” said Leonard. “They noticed when they first came in, how different of a building it was — how fresh, new, modern, well-lit, bright and comfortable it is. That’s really where the difference is felt.”
And while the WELL Certification is new for the Stonestown Y and the industry as a whole, Leonard hopes it becomes the new standard for the YMCA of San Francisco moving forward. “It set the model for furthering what we’re doing,” he said. “We’re considering other renovations in our association, and we’re hoping to be able to reach these standards in those facilities as well.”