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Following more than two years of due diligence that included a comprehensive market study and an in-depth analysis of similar College-YMCA partnerships, today Onondaga Community College and the Greater Syracuse YMCA announced a strategic partnership to build a YMCA on the Onondaga Community College campus in Onondaga Hill. The partnership consists of planning for a fundraising effort by the YMCA to build and operate a new swimming pool at OCC, as well as developing an agreement for the YMCA to manage and operate the College’s new fitness center and related space once new construction and renovations are complete. “Even as public funding wanes, Onondaga remains committed to providing the public with programs and services that meet community needs. This can only be achieved through strategic partnerships. The YMCA is an internationally recognized expert in funding, constructing and operating wellness and aquatic facilities, so it only made sense for OCC to pursue a strategic partnership with the YMCA. I am grateful to Hal Welsh and the YMCA Board, who for more than two years, has shared the vision of a YMCA on the OCC campus,” said Debbie L. Sydow, Ph.D. “It is certainly a privilege to be invited to work with Onondaga Community College President Dr. Debbie Sydow and her staff to develop healthy recreational programs for college students and residents of the western area community. I also look forward to working with those in the community interested in funding and constructing a new aquatic center. I am sure this partnership will result in a stronger college and community,” said Hal Welsh, CEO, YMCA of Greater Syracuse.
With the announcement of the strategic partnership, the YMCA will begin work on a plan to raise all funds necessary to construct a new swimming pool on the Onondaga Community College campus. The fundraising effort will be led and executed exclusively by the YMCA. In addition, the College and the YMCA will develop a joint agreement whereby the YMCA will manage and operate the YMCA to include the new swimming pool, a new fitness center being built adjacent to the College’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Building, and additional space.
While this partnership is new for Central New York, it is not the first of its kind in New York State. In 2004, Jamestown Community College and the YMCA entered into a 30-year shared-use agreement to operate the Jamestown Community College (JCC) Physical Education Center. This partnership allows JCC students and staff to access the new facility for athletics, intramural activities, physical education classes, recreation and other college-related activities, as well as for community use.
“As a public institution, Onondaga Community College must commit its limited dollars to the core mission of the institution, which is providing high quality academic programs and services to the citizens of this community. A market study has shown, however, that students and the community alike desire a modern fitness and aquatics facilities in the western part of Onondaga County. By partnering with the YMCA, these facilities will be constructed and operated as self-sustaining entities, meeting local demand and also ensuring that shrinking public funds are dedicated to the core educational mission,” said Dr. Sydow.
“The YMCA and OCC are forming a unique partnership to advance a community fitness center and state of the art community pool. As a representative at the County Legislature for the Town of Onondaga, the Town of Camillus and the City of Syracuse, I know these facilities are in high demand and will be a great benefit to families in the western portion of Onondaga County. Considering the challenging economic times, OCC and the YMCA should be recognized for their innovative approach to advance a new community pool at no cost to local taxpayers,” said Patrick M. Kilmartin, Onondaga County Legislator for the 11th District.
“Speaking for the Town Board, I am proud to have been involved with the idea of a western area Y and continue to support this partnership and all that it will mean to the residents and families of the neighboring Town of Onondaga. We are extremely proud to be the home municipality for Onondaga Community College, and proud of our continued good working relationship,” said Town of Onondaga Councilor Donald L. Hamilton.
The process to finalize the agreement between the College and the YMCA will begin immediately. It is expected that the agreement, which must be approved by the Onondaga Community College Board of Trustees and the YMCA Board of Trustees, will be completed by the end of the year.