Burlington YMCA Members Unhappy New Facility Won't Have Steam Rooms | True 802 | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Burlington YMCA Members Unhappy New Facility Won't Have Steam Rooms


Published February 20, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated March 5, 2019 at 8:34 p.m.

  • Staff Illustration

The steel frame of the new 50,000-square-foot Greater Burlington YMCA is rising on College Street, but some regulars say important amenities will be left out of the $28 million structure set to open next year.

They're steamed, specifically, that it won't include a steam room — or, for that matter, hot tubs. The current facility has two of each. 

"In today's ever-accelerating culture, I sincerely implore you: Please maintain one of the last temples of solitude, healing and restoration for the city dweller," member Justin Kolber wrote to YMCA leaders on January 30. 

He's even offered to start an SOS: Save Our Steam! campaign to raise the money needed to include the amenity in the new facility.

The current Y allows members 18 and older to pay slightly more for access to wellness centers, which are essentially locker rooms for adults that have steam rooms, hot tubs and saunas.

The new building won't have wellness centers, only regular locker rooms. There will be one coed sauna near one of the two pools.  

In a letter to members, YMCA president and CEO Kyle Dodson said that "deciding on final plans was a difficult process, and I am aware that there is disappointment among some of you that our new Y will not include Wellness Centers." He's agreed to discuss the design in a meeting with Kolber and some other dissatisfied members.

So will the meeting change anything? In an interview with Seven Days last Friday, Dodson suggested that he's open to talking about the issue but believes it would be difficult and expensive to change the building at this late stage.

"We are way down the road," he said.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Steamin' Mad"

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