Medina students assist with planned YMCA upgrades

Posted 5 March 2024 at 12:06 pm

Provided photos: Front row from left includes Faith Baker, Taylor Frentz, Evelyn Phillips, Emma Jacobs and Jesse Cudzilo. Back row includes YMCA board member Dean Bellack, Emiliana Batista, Jacob Rissew, Dahvid Anderson, Addison Paul, Brandon Christiaansen, Henry Winters and Camryn Eick.

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – Medina students have assisted the YMCA with some projects to make the facility better for the public.

The site, the former Medina Armory, has been a YMCA since 1997. Now residents take exercise classes, use the workout room and participate in afterschool programs at the site.

Over the years the Y has replaced the roofing, lighting and the exercise rooms. They have launched capital campaigns to modernize the facility that included a handicapped accessibility ramp, a vestibule, lobby expansion for a social space, a child watch area, two unisex bathrooms and shower areas to make the space as functional as possible.

Unfortunately, there are still areas that need to be improved and reconfigured such as the women’s locker room and a basement kitchen. The locker room space is equipped with two private showers, an oak bench and lockers, some original to the building and also made out of solid oak. Sadly, some of the lockers had been sold off over time.

“This facility is so unique and we want to make it the best for our patrons,” said Jesse Cudzilo, the Y executive director. “There is damage to the floors, the showers need to be replaced and it is somewhat of an awkward layout.  Since we are community partners, we decided to tap our community to see if we could get some help in the remodel.”

He reached out to Medina Junior-Senior High School Counselor Audralee Doll, who put him in touch with Technology and Engineering Education teacher Mike Lepkyj. He jumped at the opportunity to give his students a chance to use their skills.

“This is a great opportunity for my Interior Design students,” he said. “They will get some real-world experience and a chance to help out an organization that does so much for our community.”

On Feb. 16, the class showed up for their initial walk through of the space and took measurements of the room and the features that needed to be incorporated. The students seemed excited about the project.

When they got back to the classroom, they broke into groups to start their design process.

Brandon Christiaansen, front, and Jacob Rissew measure inside the YMCA.

Student Emma Jacobs says she has been a member of the Y for over a year and she is excited to put her vision into her proposal.

“When I go there, I am always thinking of what they could do to improve it,” she said. “I have a lot of ideas and I am really stoked to actually work on a project that is for something in the real world.”

Classmate Evelyn Phillips said she is enjoying the creative process. “It’s really fun and I am looking forward to reimagining the spaces and make them more practical.”

Mr. Lepkyj says the students will work on about five proposals to show Mr. Cudzilo and the Board of the YMCA. “What an amazing thing to be able to put on their resume,” said Mr. Lepkyj. “How many high school students can say they designed a space for a local organization?”

Cudzillo also contacted Orleans/Niagara BOCES’ Principal Nicole Goyette. She told him that the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center’s Building Trades students with their teacher Matt Anastasi would love to assist with the rehab and construction of the space.

“We are very excited about the partnerships with these classes,” Mr. Cudzilo. “It will be a lot of work. We firmly believe that when kids are invested in their community it becomes a source of pride for them. I can’t wait to see their vision for the space and I think their input will be invaluable. We are hoping that this generation coming up will embrace the history of this facility and we can pass the torch to them to keep it viable for generations to come. Our goal is to leave this building better than how we found it.”