Archive for Thursday, March 10, 2011

USD 204 renews 10-year contract with YMCA Greater Kansas City

USD 204 residents to still see 20 percent discount

March 10, 2011

The YMCA of Greater Kansas City and USD 204’s 10-year relationship will continue for another 10 years after the Bonner Springs-Edwardsville Board of Education unanimously approved Monday night another 10-year contract with the community organization. The contract will mean a continued working relationship between the district and the Bonner Springs Family YMCA, which also serves as the Bonner Springs High School Physical Education Center.

Superintendent Robert VanMaren said all the terms in the new contract were the same as the old terms, beyond the fact the YMCA would give USD 204 $20,000 out of its contingency reserve to help benefit the new BSHS weight room. In exchange, BSHS would allow YMCA members to utilize the facility for classes and training when not in use by students and faculty.

Those funds, VanMaren said in a previous meeting, would go back into the district’s capital outlay fund from which it originally took out $35,000 in July of last year to help pay for equipment in the new BSHS weight room.

Terms that remain the same include that all residents living in the Bonner Springs-Edwardsville school district will continue to receive their 20 percent membership discount at the YMCA. Additionally, while the building itself is basically the district’s responsibility, 10 percent of all proceeds the YMCA accrues must continue to go into the contingency reserve fund that goes to pay for maintenance and upkeep of the building and equipment.

The $10 million building was purchased by the district 10 years ago through a bond issue project passed by voters in August of 2000. Since then, YMCA officials said during Monday night’s meeting, the growth the Bonner Springs facility has seen can be measured tangibly.

Scott Clark, district vice president, said that since opening, the YMCA had had more than 1.4 million visitors. Currently there are 3,200 members.

Mark Hulet, chief operating officer, said in the coming years, the focus would be shifting away from just an “activity-based organization,” as he said, to one that’s measured in terms of its impact on a community. He said the shift is coming following a two-year research study the YMCA administered to gauge public opinion.

“What we found out is we were well-known, we were well-liked, but people didn’t realize the YMCA was a charity,” Hulet said. “They did not realize the mission side of the YMCA, because the YMCA for so long had built fantastic health and wellness facilities and kind of got away from their roots a little bit.”

Turning the YMCA into a facility that’s seen as a community service organization more than just a place where community members go to work out and take part in athletic activities, Hulet said, would take the organization back to those roots — a direction, he said, it badly needed to go. YMCA’s throughout the country will be working together toward this common goal.

“All these YMCA’s across the country, the 3,000-plus YMCA’s across the country, were very dismembered … nobody was on the same path,” Hulet said during the meeting. “All sorts of logos, all sorts of signs, all sorts of programs, everybody doing everything. We said, you know, what we need to do is bring us all back together and put the YMCA in the same direction.”

While emphasis will still be placed on youth development and healthy living, Hulet said social responsibility will also become a main priority.

“ … doing the things that a community-based organization should do; (raising) funds to help offset and really show that our charity side is out there,” Hulet said of what the YMCA will be doing.

Clark helped to drive this point home by bringing up the new Open Doors program, which was started in November of last year and which provides income-based membership.

“One thing I want to make sure people do understand, is that we’ll never turn a kid or family away based on their inability to pay for services,” he said.

Clark said the Bonner Springs facility would be getting new equipment and a new facelift to the inside of the building in preparation for a grand reopening ceremony, set for May of this year.

Also on Monday, the board:

• Held an hour and 15 minute-long executive session prior to the meeting to discuss personnel-related matters, after which no action was taken. During the meeting, the board broke again for executive session to discuss personnel-related and negotiations-related matters, after which no action was taken.

• Unanimously approved the adoption of the agenda.

• Unanimously approved board minutes from the Feb. 7 meeting.

• Unanimously approved warrants totaling $985,644.36.

• Unanimously approved the treasurer and clerk’s report.

• Heard the results of the annual Head Start federal monitoring report, which was conducted between Feb. 28 and March 4 of this year. Included in Director Pat Likins report was that this was the first year no findings had been reported. A finding is an error discovered by the monitoring report reviewer that includes things such as not storing cleaning supplies properly or not properly labeling toothbrushes. Likins said six years ago, the Bonner Springs Head Start had received 68 findings.

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