ROCKFORD – The YMCA of Rock River Valley and Judson University will soon be sharing space in an effort to create a campus destination in downtown Rockford that organizers say will be focused on helping community members pursue a healthy spirit, mind and body.
Judson will relocate its Rockford campus inside the I.D. Pennock Family YMCA at 200 Y Blvd. with construction beginning in February 2017 with classes ready to launch in Fall 2017.
The I.D. Pennock Family YMCA has been a riverfront destination since it opened in 1964. As downtown Rockford undergoes continued revitalization, the Y leadership believes its flagship location is positioned to play an important part in the city’s future. In order to ensure the viability of the facility for generations to come, a long-term master plan was created. The branch is a 160-thousand square foot facility, but the Y says it determined it only needs 70-80,000 square feet to operate programs and services.
“Our vision is to create a place where members, students and residents can go to become a stronger version of themselves – whether its through fitness, education or family time,” said Mike Brown, CEO, YMCA of Rock River Valley. “We believe Judson University is the perfect partner to help us achieve this goal. It allows both organizations to expand offerings, which is a win for YMCA members and Judson students.”
As Christian-based organizations, the YMCA and Judson share similar values focused on developing and strengthening communities through the empowerment of its members and students.
“Our community has a need for increased access to educational opportunities, however a lack of childcare serves as a barrier to many adults who would like to pursue higher education degrees,” the YMCA said in a statement.
The partners say the transition will remove barriers to education, as the location in the I.D. Pennock Family YMCA will provide students access to all the amenities the Y has to offer, including childcare, access to health and wellness facilities and a restaurant on-site. Additionally, Judson has committed to awarding a two-year scholarship each year to a candidate chosen by the YMCA who wishes to pursue a bachelor’s or associate’s degree.
“We are honored to partner with the YMCA in their mission. This partnership will make both organizations stronger and serve our Rockford students better in every way,” says Dr. David Cook, dean of Judson’s School of Business and Professional Studies. “Our students will benefit from access to free child care when they are in class as well as an outstanding facility to maintain their physical fitness.”
Judson’s new classrooms will offer an opportunity for Y members to take evening college courses in the Adult Professional Degree Program. Additionally, the Y will have access to these state-of-the art facilities during the day to run its Elevate GED program, YMCA trainings and other education-based programs.
Planners say Judson will occupy 10 thousand square feet of space on the third and portions of the second floor.