WATERVILLE — The Alfond Youth Center is ready to run with its plan for a new $6.12 million Whole Family Wellness Center, and some construction is already underway.

The North Street center held a Nov. 1 groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the work beginning on the new wellness center, a more than 15,000-square-foot addition to the facility aiming to expand health and wellness opportunities for local children and their entire families.

“Waterville is on the move. We are pleased to be part of Waterville’s renaissance,” said Alfond Youth Center CEO Ken Walsh at the event. “Great institutions, business development, along with activities for youth and families, make up the ingredients for economic energy.”

Coupled with renovations to the existing facility, the multi-floor wellness project includes expanded cardio rooms for children, new fitness rooms for adults, a teaching kitchen, family locker rooms for the facility’s pools, child care, a community lounge, offices for MaineGeneral to provide health services, gymnasium renovations, and the addition of a second floor track above the gym.

“We see this wellness project as another feather in Waterville’s cap for economic development,” Walsh said. “Our two-story wellness center, indoor track, teaching kitchen, the renovation of our after-school program will attract families to Waterville.”

The Harold Alfond Foundation announced a $6.12 million grant in January for the wellness center project, which includes design work from Portland-based firm Harriman and construction by Fairfield-based Sheridan Construction Corp.


“Our $6.12 million challenge grant to the AYC will go a long way towards building upon whole-family wellness, and it will ensure that more children in need will benefit from the great work here at the Alfond Youth Center,” Alfond Foundation Chairman Greg Powell said in a press release.

Project and community leaders converged on the center for Thursday’s groundbreaking, with some renovations already underway.

Brent Burger, the project manager, gave an overview of the years of work that led up to the groundbreaking.

“We’ve been engaged in this project for almost three years now,” said Burger. “We started even before that talking about how we might be able to fit a gym in the library upstairs as our effort towards wellness in the community. And that gym in the library turned into a $6.2 million renovation: double-decker wellness for youth and adult, really to bring families together.”

Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro called the Alfond Youth Center a “phenomenal place” and noted that his own family has participated in youth sports and other programs through the center.

“This wellness project is going to provide a place for families to come and to be together, to recreate, to laugh together, to learn, and ultimately become better,” Isgro said. “When we do that, we are creating better individuals, better families, and ultimately a better community and society.”


Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kimberly Lindlof, who also works for the Central Maine Growth Council, said the new wellness center can play a role in shaping a healthier local workforce.

“In our collective efforts and desire to see every able-bodied person gainfully employed in a variety of dynamic businesses in our region, programs like these will help keep our workforce healthy and in shape,” Lindlof told the crowd Thursday. “It’s only when our workforce is fully engaged and working at capacity that we will see our businesses thrive and grow.”

After the ceremony, Lindlof also said that the center and the wellness opportunities it will provide to the surrounding community “are very sell-able” in the effort to attract new employers to the area.

“It is part of the pitch, absolutely,” she said.

Burger estimated during the event that the new wellness center could be open by June or July of 2019. Walsh speculated after the event it could possibly be sooner.

“It has been a long journey, it’s been an incredible fun journey, and really it’s just begun, because now we’re getting our hands dirty,” Burger said Thursday.


According to a press release from the Alfond Youth Center, the organization serves over 250 kids a day through its after-school program — with 70 percent of those children attending at no cost. The center, which is home to both the Boys & Girls Club and YMCA of Greater Waterville, serves over 60,000 hot meals and 5,000 youth members annually, the release said.

“Every strategic move we make at the Alfond Youth Center centers around the service to our children in the greater Waterville area,” said Walsh. “Our wellness project gives us the ability to increase our service to our children who need us the most.”

Matt Junker — 861-9253


Twitter: @mattjunker

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