ROCKWALL,TX (Nov. 25, 2014) A ribbon cutting ceremony and Open House on Nov. 20 marked the completion of Phase I renovations and the official opening of the newly expanded JER Chilton YMCA at Rockwall.
Larry Parks, longtime member of the JER Chilton YMCA Board of Management and Chairman of the Capital Campaign, described the occasion as a “legacy event” – a time to reflect on the history of the YMCA; to celebrate the result of many years of discussions and planning; and to recognize those who helped make it possible.
Dignitaries, donors, community leaders and dozens of friends of the YMCA were in attendance for the Open House, which included a performance of “God Bless America” by the Rockwall Children’s Chorus (under the direction of Alan Clark); catering by Dodie’s Cajun Diner at The Harbor; and remarks by Rockwall County Judge Brian Williams (JER Chilton YMCA Board Chair), Larry Parks, and Rockwall Mayor David Sweet.
Gordon Echtenkamp, President/CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, introduced special guest speaker, JER “Bob” Chilton.
Also present to mark the occasion were Fate Mayor Lorne Megyesi, Heath Mayor Lorne Liecthy, McLendon-Chisholm Mayor Gary Moody, former Mayors Frank Miller, Alma Williams Howard and Scott Self, Rockwall County Sheriff Harold Eavenson, City Councilman Dennis Lewis, Rockwall County District Attorney Kenda Culpepper, past Rockwall YMCA Executive Director Mike Atkins, and members of the Board of Managers.
Congressman Ralph Hall, who was unable to attend, sent an American flag that had been flown over the United States Capitol for the opening of the JER Chilton YMCA.
“What a beautiful night, what a beautiful building, what an amazing asset for the YMCA as an organization, but more importantly – what an amazing asset for this community,” Echtenkamp told the crowd. “I have had the good fortune to stand at the podium for many of these openings in my YMCA career, and the best ones are always when you are surrounded by people who have a history already. Just imagine if we bought a piece of dirt over in some community and we didn’t have any contact with the people; and we planted a Y and said ‘build it and they will come.’ I can guarantee that doesn’t happen. It only happens because of the long history that you all have with this amazing organization over the last 50 years to get us to this point.”
Echtenkamp added that as amazing as the facility is, the building is a just a tool – “a tool to fulfill the mission of the Y: to put Christian values into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.” He then recognized Bob and Missy Chilton for their support and contributions – “not just for tonight, but for the children of the future.”
“Tonight it’s a lot of great joy,” he said, “because we’re about to open this factory. I call it a factory because it manufactures a product. And these products are individuals and families that want to improve their lives. It’s my great feeling deep within me that these products tomorrow are going to be the core leadership of this community.”
Chilton noted that Bonnie LaVielle, Executive Director of the JER Chilton YMCA, has been a joy to work with, facing many complexities and keeping the Y running successfully throughout the course of the project, which has spanned nearly a year.
Also recognized were general contractor Raul Ramos, architect Craig Reynolds and VP of Facilities for the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas Stan Thomas.
Following the ribbon cutting, guests were treated to tours of the facility, which showcased a nearly 12,000 sq. ft. addition. This includes a 6,000 sq. ft. aerobics and free-weights workout area, two locker rooms (one for men and one for women) at 1,000 sq. ft. each, and a large, lavish Welcome Center and lobby.
The Y at Rockwall now holds close to $172,000 worth of equipment, including 18 new PVS stands and several new treadmills, ellipticals and step mills. A new child watch area was also added for parents to enjoy the convenience of being able to work out while their children are cared for.
The completion of Phase I will immediately begin the next phase of the renovation project, which will add a fresh look to the existing gym and aerobics room as well as a brand new cycling studio. Phase II is expected to be completed by the end of January 2015.
Personalized bricks and naming rights are still available for those interested in being part of the YMCA legacy. Contact the YMCA at 972-772-9622 or visit the website at jerchiltonymca.org for more information.
The JER Chilton YMCA thanks its generous donors, which include:
Jim and Gail McCurry
Rusty and Tammy Wallis
The Packer Family
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Rockwall
Inwood National Bank
Lake Pointe Health Network
The American National Bank of Texas
Frank and Nicole Conselman
Tim and Alison Hartley
The Dr. Bart Miller Family
Stacey and Bill Houser
Marion and Philip Miller
Dewayne Cain – Rest Haven Funeral Homes
Kevin and Amanda Fowler
Jayson and Jamie Killough
Bill and Bonnie LaVielle
Dr. Greg and Susan Young
Norman and Marlene Brennecke
Larry and Sheri Parks
Techline Sports Lighting
Robert Amick, Jr.
Bobby and Evan Timmer
Randy and Glenda Johnson
Jack and Tellisa Williams
Lorne and Mary Liechty
Mike and Dwania Morris
Richard and Dawn Redig
Staci Childress Stewart
American National Diversified Inc.
Story by Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News. Photos by Richard Redig, Blue Ribbon News.
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