By JEN CARDINES
What once was open storage space underneath the administration offices is now home to the YMCA Sports Performance Center (SPC). The 130 N. Main Street building has another amenity alongside the women’s center and spirit mind body center.
The new, state-of-the-art facility was built to improve overall performance for young athletes, and the center opened last week—just in time for the New Year. During its grand opening, the YMCA offered free classes and open houses throughout the week.
“We just started promoting it a week ago, and we’ve had no problem filling the classes,” said marketing director Samantha McCarthy.
The center targets two age ranges—11 to 13 year olds and 14 to 18 year olds—with workouts focused on injury prevention, confidence building, and skill development. Classes are intended to be age appropriate to ensure a healthy, targeted workout.
“We are designing a system of classes to have a long term development plan for children up to age 18,” said SPC director Tommy Sienkowski. “We want to promote a facility with the best practice. Safety is always number one.”
Sienkowski is new to the YMCA staff, but he’s no stranger to the fitness industry. After being a high school and college athlete, he became a certified strength and conditioning specialist. He has trained hundreds of student-athletes.
“He’s a rock star,” said YMCA executive director John Myers.
Each class has a 12-person maximum, which gives the trainer the ability to work with each student on a personal level. The center is looking to hire some part-time support staff in the near future. They hope to link up with Southington High School sport teams to enhance their training regiments.
All sessions are held after school hours, which leaves the day wide open at the center. YMCA health and wellness director Karen Digirolamo said that the “360” program for adults will start the second week in January, so that they can really utilize the state-of-the-art equipment.
“We’re committed to creating a healthier community,” Myers said. “They’re going to become better athletes and see results soon enough.”
Plans for this facility have been in the making for over a year, but the construction project came to fruition in less than six months.
“YMCA board member Al Rousseau was instrumental in helping us put this together,” Digirolamo said. The center is stocked with premium equipment from Cybex because Rousseau works for the leading manufacturing company.
While planning the project, YMCA directors traveled to various places around the country, visiting other fitness centers and YMCAs to see what was available. The Southington location is the only YMCA in the state that has a sports training center like this one.
Classes are offered in four week sessions, with the price dependent on membership status. You do not have to be a YMCA member to enroll in SPC classes, however, the price is higher for non-members.
“Our prices are comparable to the going rate,” Digirolamo said. She said that the YMCA staff looked at other facilities and programs to fairly price the sessions.
Photos by JEN CARDINES