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Moose Jaw YMCA

It’s fun – and cooler – to play at the YMCA in Moose Jaw.

In their legendary 1979 hit song, the Village People extolled the virtues of the YMCA, but one thing they never talked about was the value of air conditioning.

However, the people who go to the YMCA in Moose Jaw can tell you all about it.

Until recently, there were a number of areas in the building that weren't air-conditioned, including the racquetball courts, spinning classrooms, drop-in child care centre and the area that hosts day camps for kids.

According to CEO, Jeff Fox, that resulted in uncomfortably warm temperatures inside the building during the summer months.

"It was smokin' hot," Fox said. "In the summer, we run a lot of day camps, so we've got 40, 50, 60 kids in our building and the temperature downstairs would be upwards of 90 degrees."

Jeff Fox

CEO Jeff Fox shows damaged on the racquetball court, pre-upgrades.

That is no longer the case, thanks to some recent improvements to the building. There have been a number of upgrades to the YMCA, including the installation of air conditioning where there was none previously. Now, YMCA members actually have to exercise if they want to sweat.

"It's almost unbearable to think of not having air conditioning now," Fox said. "The kids are a lot happier and more well-behaved."

Other improvements include an expansion of a mezzanine in the exercise area, which now provides more room for cardio machines, resistance training and stretching. The mezzanine overlooks the weight-training area, which tends to be populated by young men that Fox affectionately refers to as "no-necks."

The improvements also included a refurbishment of the racquetball courts, which were damaged as a result of repeated flooding in the '80s and '90s.

"We've got the only courts in town, they're going to be well-maintained," he said. "We're hoping to develop the sport of racquetball in Moose Jaw again."

The upgrades included the installation of energy efficient lighting and new flooring and walls in the ladies' shower room.

In total, the improvements cost $137,000, which Fox readily admits would have been far too pricy for the YMCA to pay for on its own.

But as the Village People sang, "You got to know this one thing: No man does it all by himself."

The federal and provincial governments each contributed one-third of the cost of the improvements to the building - $45,666 - through the Recreational Infrastructure Canada program.

"Maybe over a period of time, we could have done some of these projects, but there's no way we could have done five in one year," Fox said. "And frankly, probably, maybe one of the five in the next two years. So, [the federal and provincial investment] was very, important to us, and very, very well-appreciated."

It seems the Village People put it best: "There's no need... to... be... un... happy."

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