Armed Services YMCA wellness center to open at end of month – The Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS — Doors to the new $12.1 million off-post Armed Services YMCA will open at 10 a.m. May 27 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Officials will host an open house of the 54,000-square-foot facility until 5 p.m. at 110 Mountain Lion Road in Harker Heights.

“We are celebrating our 50th anniversary in the greater Fort Hood area this year, and we could not be more excited to bring this facility to everyone during our celebratory year,” said John Marshall, Killeen Armed Services YMCA media relations director.

At 11 a.m. May 27, the Ron Taylor Freedom Circle will be dedicated.

Taylor, an advocate for soldiers, bank executive and military veteran, died Sept. 2.

He was a senior vice president at Fort Hood National Bank and a retired sergeant first class. Taylor was serving as the Association of the United States Army’s 4th Region president at the time of his death.

“We wanted to find somebody that was so fitting for an Armed Services Y — and what is more fitting than Ron Taylor, who was an advocate for the military, an advocate for the soldiers and was always there for the soldiers,” said Cindy Davis, fundraising chairwoman for the YMCA project.

He supported the wellness center project by attending the groundbreaking, Davis said.

Discussions among staff and board members about the facility started about 10 years ago, followed by fundraising efforts, which still continue.

According to city documents, the YMCA entered into a ground lease with Harker Heights on Sept. 9, 2013, to construct the facility on about 2 acres in the Purser Family Park.

Land was donated by the family of the late Gary W. Purser Sr.

In October 2014, a groundbreaking ceremony was held.

In February 2015, a permit was issued to Hill and Wilkinson General Contractors. Walls started going up in August.

“It gave me goose bumps to see the reality of it physically going up, after all the time spent planning,” Davis said.

The first off-post Armed Services YMCA will serve both military and civilian individuals age 6 months old to seniors from all area communities,

On the first floor of the new facility will be a 10-lane lap pool, a separate 88-degree therapy pool for water exercise and swim lessons; men’s, women’s and family locker rooms with showers leading to the pools; an exercise studio for aerobic classes; a generational center for senior citizens and teenagers; a free child watch area; and Seton Medical Center’s physical therapy rehabilitation area.

Killeen Independent School District will train student athletes in the facility’s pool.

On the second floor will be weight machines, free weights and cardio equipment, three exercise studios, instructional rooms and an indoor walking track.

Included will be a cafe, meeting rooms and instructional kitchen for wellness classes, a sauna, a gym with a full-size basketball court, yoga, spin, Pilates, Zumba and a TRX system.

“The ASYMCA Wellness Center is a fantastic place for the entire family,” said Katie Lochridge, the facility’s fitness director. “Parents, teens and youth can come get fit, eat a healthy meal, and participate in educational classes all in one place.”

The YMCA has three areas of focus that include youth development, social responsibility and healthy living, Marshall said.

“Joining the Y is more than just a membership — it is a part of a community organization whose roots run deep in the community,” he said.

Enrollment fees will be 25 percent off through May 31, and active-duty enrollment fees will be waived.

Tony Mino, the Armed Services YMCA executive director, previously said it is a facility open to all. “This is a Central Texas facility,” he said.

For more about the Ron Taylor Freedom Circle, go to fundtheymca.com.

Contact Rachael Riley at [email protected] or 254-501-7553

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