Quietly, YMCA begins drive

NASHUA – It’s not surprising that you may not have heard about the capital campaign for the new YMCA facility.

That campaign has just kicked off and is now in what’s called its “silent phase,” said Mike LaChance, executive director of the YMCA of Greater Nashua.

So far, only directors and others within the Y family have been asked to contribute, LaChance said. To date, $420,000 has been received, he said.

That represents about 14 percent of the capital campaign’s goal of $3 million.

Southern New Hampshire Medical Center will buy the current YMCA facility on Prospect Street in a deal expected to close next month, LaChance said. The hospital plans to convert the facility into medical offices.

Meanwhile, the YMCA, the city of Nashua and Pratt Homes are working out a three-way land swap that would allow the YMCA to build a new facility near Stellos Stadium and the

Exit 5 off the F.E. Everett Turnpike.

The hospital will buy the Prospect Street facility for $4.5 million. The proceeds will be applied toward to project cost of $10.1 million for the new YMCA. After the $3 million from the capital campaign is added, the remaining $2.6 million would be borrowed through bonds, LaChance said.

As the capital campaign progresses, individuals, companies and foundations will be solicited, with donations ranging from $1 to $500,000 or more, LaChance said.

Times are tough, and many companies have eliminated or at least scaled back on giving, LaChance noted. With that in mind, the YMCA is allowing donors to spread out payments over three to five years, he said.

It’s a rare occurrence to support a new YMCA facility that individuals and companies may find attractive, LaChance said.

“An opportunity like this doesn’t come around that often – for most people, it’s once in a lifetime,” LaChance said.

Fundraising events are in the works, and details are being hashed out for a kick-off event in October, he said.

The new facility will be about 41,000 square feet, smaller than the 55,000-square-foot Prospect Street building.

However, the new YMCA will make a more efficient use of space and will be open to offer more programs, LaChance said.

Southern New Hampshire Medical Center will allow the organization to continue to offer programs at Prospect Street even after the sale is closed, LaChance said.

“We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to stay right up until the opening of the new facility. We’re very grateful for the hospital’s willingness to work with us,” LaChance said.