YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase Credit: VIA GOOGLE EARTH

The YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase is about to embark on a year-long renovation and expansion project at its building on Old Georgetown Road.

The 55-year-old structure is aging and needs an upgrade to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, said Carla Larrick, vice president of operations for the YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase. So next month, the group hopes to start construction on the building, outfitting it to serve more people and accommodate more programs, she said.

“It’s an exciting time,” Larrick said Tuesday.

The organization’s goal is to raise $8.7 million for the first phase of the project, which will include refurbishing the entire building and adding a wing on the left side near the tennis courts. This phase will also involve adding an elevator to meet ADA requirements and excavating the building’s lower level—which is currently buried—to provide natural sunlight on the ground floor. 

The new addition will feature a community room in which the YMCA can hold wellness programs and other programs, such as those for diabetes prevention and nutrition classes, Larrick said.

To date, the nonprofit has raised more than $2 million for the work, including $100,000 from the state and $125,000 from the county and a $180,000 donation from the Kiwanis Club of Bethesda. The organization is preparing to start reaching out to members to tell them about the project and invite them to contribute.

The first phase of construction should wrap up next year, but Larrick said there are plans for more improvements in the future. Phases two and three could add a nutritional teaching kitchen, a gymnasium with a running track and a renovated pool with water features and an entrance for wheelchairs. The group also wants to beautify the building’s exterior.

“We’re going to add a beautiful garden around the new wing, so people have a place to walk and relax,” Larrick said.

The three phases could cost a combined total of $30 million, she said. She added that the YMCA will remain open during construction.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.