The Y in Central Maryland has kicked off a fundraising campaign to convert part of a shuttered Catholic high school in Southwest Baltimore into the city’s third YMCA center.
The organization announced the plans for the new facility at Gibbons Commons, a development owned by Saint Agnes Hospital, earlier this week. The Y’s “Invest in Baltimore’s Future” capital campaign would also fund updates for the existing Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Y in Waverly and the Y in Druid Hill, and offer or expand youth programs at all three sites.
Specifically, the campaign seeks to bring in $16 million, with $6 million going to building the new Y center and $1 million for youth programs there. Another $7 million would go toward renovations and added programming for the Waverly center, and $2 million would go toward the same goals for the Druid Hill center, per the Y’s website.
Jeff Sprinkle, chief philanthropy officer for the Y in Central Maryland, said on a phone call Friday that they “hope to be able to raise the money for this campaign within about a three-year period.”
The new Southwest Baltimore facility will be built out of the old 30,000-square-foot gym and the adjacent fine arts building left over by Cardinal Gibbons High School. The center will include a gymnasium, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, group exercise studios, locker rooms and spaces for youth programs, among other facilities.
Sprinkle says they plan to hire staff from the area to create new jobs, and ultimately “address the issue of making it a healthier community.”
The updates to other centers include: for Waverly, an expanded health and wellness center, a new swim center, an outdoor pavilion, more youth development and multi-purpose rooms for teens and seniors and a new early childhood center; and for Druid Hill, a community wellness center, more youth development and multi-purpose rooms, and a facility operated by a local health care provider to offer screenings or provide diabetes prevention resources.
Bringing a Y to Southwest Baltimore has been part of the plan for Gibbons Commons for years. The development is named after Cardinal Gibbons High School, a former all-boys middle and high school that operated there from 1962 until 2010, when it closed as part of a consolidation effort by the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The hospital purchased the property from the church in 2012, with the intention of building subsidized housing and office, retail and restaurant space, along with the planned YMCA center. Crews broke ground in 2015.
It presently houses Babe Ruth Field, a project from the Y in Central Maryland and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, and the completed Bon Secours Gibbons Apartments. The Baltimore Business Journal reported last year that Saint Agnes Hospital was still looking for tenants for the 32-acre development.