College, City, YMCA Team Up to Pursue Community Recreation Projects

December 14, 2020

The former Washington Gardner School on East Michigan Avenue was originally built in 1928

Albion College, the Battle Creek YMCA and the City of Albion are banding together to provide recreational facilities and activities for the community.

Using the College-owned former Washington Gardner School and other College-owned facilities, plans are being considered to renovate portions of the school including the gym, the cafeteria and the multipurpose room, according to Doug Laditka, Albion’s associate vice president for facilities management and development.

He said talks are underway with YMCA Executive Director Jill Hinde and a design team. The College has been exploring several options for renovation of the site. Once plans are finalized and the College decides it will move forward, work could begin by next August with completion taking 18 to 24 months.

The Battle Creek YMCA, City of Albion and Albion College will also work together to seat a local advisory council that will work with Hinde to develop plans and hire the first staff members for the program.

“When a partner like the City steps forward with an invitation, and the College with a willingness to support our efforts, it makes our job of meeting community needs for recreation, fitness and wellness possible,” Hinde said.

A strategy is also being developed for YMCA access to College facilities as well as creating two new classrooms for the Great Start Readiness Program in Albion.

Albion College President Mathew Johnson said the College understands and embraces its unique role in helping its neighbors in any way possible.

“As an anchor institution in Albion, it is our responsibility to partner with the City and the YMCA to address health disparities and the social determinants of health in our community,” Dr. Johnson said.

More information on the partnership can be found in a December 10 story published in the Battle Creek Enquirer.