YMCA, Omaha Public Schools launch gym partnership

The first YMCA and public school partnership in the Greater Omaha Metro area is coming to life.
Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 7:35 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The first YMCA and public school partnership in the Omaha-metro is coming to life.

The new location provides an opportunity to students in more ways than one.

Attached to the new Westview High School is also a new YMCA facility. Students and the public can enjoy dozens of different kinds of equipment, a pool, splash pad, and shared spaces like the weight room and fitness classrooms.

The director of the Westview YMCA says this is an opportunity to share space, reduce downtime, and maximize usage.

“The pool is not used as much with the YMCA during the afternoon hours and so the pool will be used by the school during that time,” said Macy DeWispelare, Executive Director of the Westview YMCA.

While Westview High School has its own weight room and athletic facilities, YMCA officials say that when the school closes, this is a place for students to go.

But it does cost money. An all-access membership is not included for students and they have to pay a monthly fee. Although, officials say that even with just its proximity, opportunities arise.

“When we think about the synergies that are going to come out of the collaboration with the high school, it’s future employment opportunities. It’s leadership and volunteerism. It’s potential after-school programming,” said Tera Thomas, Vice President of Advancement for the YMCA of Greater Omaha.

And those employment opportunities already started, according to the executive director.

“We have filled about 10 positions with Westview high school students. With the high school starting with freshman and sophomores, we had to hire some younger students, and so we’re excited for them to continue to get older so we can hire them for more positions,” said DeWispelare.

But with such close proximity between students and the general public, concerns arise.

In terms of safety and access, shared spaces like the Westview High School weight room and the YMCA’s weight room are separated by doors that lock. And you have to be on the school side to be able to unlock them.

“There are two separate entrances: one for the school and one for the YMCA. Every shared space that we have will be locked and unlocked at the times when the school will be using it and at the times when the Y is allowed to use it.”

The Westview YMCA officially opens next Monday and this concept will also be part of Buena Vista High School with an Express YMCA.

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