Originally published 3:18pm on June 23, 2018
Times Record News
by Christopher Walker

One local YMCA branch is moving forward on the newest portion of its $14-million capital project.

YMCA Mission Advancements Director Noel Filer and Joe Cronin, gymnastics director, gushed with words of encouragement when discussing the project at the Bill Bartley branch.

“It’s really a state-of-the-art facility,” Cronin said. “You could probably go 100 miles in any direction from Wichita Falls, and you won’t be able to find a nicer facility.”


YMCA Gymnastics Director Joe Cronin talks about the “gymkata” teaching tools he uses to teach his students about self-discipline and not to spar among one another. (Photo: CHRISTOPHER WALKER/TIMES RECORD NEWS)


The Stephens Family Gymnastic Center was completed this year and will feature recreational, competitive team and special needs gymnastics; gymnastic meetings; birthday parties and parent’s night out.

As the first phase of construction continues, Filer said the community will begin to see the early childhood & youth center, a two-court gymnasium, indoor soccer complex and a new parking area.


YMCA Gymnastics Director Joe Cronin talks about the four new in-ground trampolines at the Y’s newly opened 12,000 square foot Stephens Family Gymnastics Center located at the Bill Bartley YMCA. (Photo: CHRISTOPHER WALKER/TIMES RECORD NEWS)


“We could not have done this without the help of our community help,” Filer said, talking about donations for the capital project. “The response from the community to our new gymnastics facility has been overwhelming. Kids and parents alike absolutely love it. There are lots of smiles, laughter and celebration as new skills are tried and learned.

“The YMCA is proud to partner with parents to provide a venue that enhances kids’ education, self-confidence, and healthy living.”


YMCA Gymnastics Director Joe Cronin shows one-of-two safety pits used at the newly opened Stephens Family Gymnastic Center. Cronin said the eight-inch squares are there to help cushion gymnastic falls. (Photo: CHRISTOPHER WALKER/TIMES RECORD NEWS)


Filer said the second phase will concentrate on renovating the current facilities, as well as an entry plaza. Phase 2 of the construction will begin after the first phase is finished in late 2019.