Door County YMCA Breaks Ground for Building Addition

It was a bright, sunny morning Tuesday when the Door County YMCA held a groundbreaking ceremony for a 16,300-square-foot addition being built on the Sturgeon Bay facility’s northeast corner.

One of the program’s speakers, Tom Beerntsen, co-chair of the YMCA’s capital campaign committee, said around $9.8 million has been raised toward the $10 million project.

Tom Beerntsen, YMCA capital campaign committee co-chair, speaks at Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the Door County YMCA’s Sturgeon Bay facility expansion. Beernsten said $9.8 million has been raised so far for the 16,300-square-foot addition. Photo by Kevin Boneske.

“While we have a little bit further to go, I can tell you that we will raise the remaining funds to complete this project because we are committed to having no debt when we get this project underway,” he said.

The Door County YMCA is beginning construction this fall to increase group-exercise program space, including the wellness center and community-room spaces; improve accessibility; have a universal locker room and sauna; provide additional social/lobby space; and add a kitchen and youth activity center.

The new youth activity center will make it possible to offer the YMCA’s day camp program on-site and use the adjacent Peterson Park.

The new Timmerman Family Wellness Center, with approximately 10,000 square feet on two levels, is being named after the Timmerman family because of a $1 million gift for naming rights to the facility.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday at the Door County YMCA’s Sturgeon Bay facility, where a 16,300-square-foot addition is being built. Those shown shoveling dirt for the ceremony include (from left) Brian Stephens and Jim Vander Heiden, both YMCA board members; Kevin Lind, YMCA building services director; Tom and Penny Beerntsen, YMCA capital campaign committee co-chairs; Heidi Erickson, YMCA CEO; Tonya Felhofer, YMCA mission advancement executive; Glenn and Nate Timmerman, and Denise and Dave Bunning, all YMCA capital campaign donors; and Sally Pfeifer, YMCA board chair. Photo by Kevin Boneske.

Beernsten said the project’s success in raising funds “is a continuation of the generosity not-for-profits have enjoyed in Door County for many, many years. For all of you who have been so generous, please accept the thanks of the board, the staff and the community. When these improvements are completed on this site in one year, the Y will be more able to continue its legacy of service to the community, as it has since its inception [in Door County] in the mid-1980s.”

Door County YMCA board chair Sally Pfeifer said the expansion is taking place to accommodate the organization’s growing membership and program numbers. No significant renovations or additions have been made to the Sturgeon Bay facility since the Carla and Ellsworth Peterson Aquatic Center and two multipurpose rooms were added in 2001.

Pfeifer thanked the staff and also recognized the Timmerman, Kane and Bunning families as major donors to the expansion project.

“We could not have done it without you,” she said.

Door County YMCA CEO Heidi Erickson, who has resigned her position effective Sept. 16 to take another with the Fox Cities YMCA, said the Door County YMCA is financially stronger than it has ever been due in large part to federal Paycheck Protection Program funds received during the pandemic.

“In addition, our membership has bounced back to pre-pandemic numbers, and our program registration is equally as strong,” Erickson said.

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