Greenfield YMCA pool’s new air-exchange system installed

  • A new air-exchange system has been installed above the pool at the YMCA in Greenfield. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/1/2020 1:49:06 PM

GREENFIELD — A new air-exchange system that feeds fresh air into the YMCA’s pool and hot tub area has been installed.

In November 2019, that area was closed for more than a week because of an issue with the old system. At the time, the Y did a temporary fix. Then, the entire building was shut down because of the pandemic in mid-March.

YMCA CEO Grady Vigneau said the installation of the bright blue system above the pool went “very well,” and all that is left to do is install a 6-inch piece of metal.

“The system goes all around the room and it was 6 inches short, not a big deal,” he said.

Phelicia Howland, president of the YMCA’s board of directors, said previously that the Y will operate on a budget of just under $3 million this year, and many of the building updates are being paid for through the budget.

The YMCA reopened with limitations in July, and Vigneau said members are back in the pool, though with limited numbers. Up to seven people can enjoy classes, lessons and laps at one time.

Vigneau said the air-exchange system should be good for at least 20 to 25 years.

The Y is currently able to allow 40 percent capacity in the building, and it is averaging 170 to 180 people each day, though not all at the same time. For instance, 20 people used to be allowed in the weight room and now only eight can be in there at once. The training room is limited to six people at a time, and aerobics classes, which used to accommodate up to 22 people, now only allow nine.

Vigneau said while up to nine people can take a fitness class in person, between eight and 15 people can take the same class virtually.

“We’re also in the process of rebranding, and as our members return, they’ll see the results of that,” he said. “We’ve installed new equipment, have new programs, and have reduced our membership options from 57 to seven to be inclusive to all.”

Barriers to membership were changed by removing “gold” and “silver” designations. The only memberships now available are youth, teen, young adult, adult, adult couple, senior and family. The YMCA is also offering a virtual membership for those who don’t want to return to the building at 451 Main St., but want to continue taking livestreamed classes.

The facility is cleaned and disinfected throughout every day, and improvements were made, including refinishing floors, painting and installing plastic curtains between equipment so members can distance themselves.

Everyone must wear a mask, and cardio equipment is 14 feet apart, while all other equipment sits 6 feet apart. There are no health screenings, but everyone who plans to enter the building is asked not to if they feel sick or have a fever or cough, and temperatures are taken at entrances.

The new, leased equipment includes some for the new Training Zone that will allow members to work out with a push-pull sled, medicine balls and a Keiser machine. Hand sanitizer and disinfectants for machines are available throughout the building.

Vigneau said the YMCA chose to lease equipment so that it can replace machines with newer, updated ones every three years.

“We’ve got so many state-of-the-art pieces now,” he said. “Our members deserve this.”

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or


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