YMCA going to 24/7 access

Patrons workout at Denny Price Family YMCA Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The YMCA will offer 24-hour access to its cardio, weight and fitness area beginning Feb. 3. 

ENID, Okla. — Denny Price Family YMCA, 415 W. Cherokee, soon will offer 24-hour access to its cardio, weight and fitness area.

Greg Shamburg, CEO at the YMCA, said 24-hour access has been a topic of discussion at the facility for several years and will become reality Feb. 3.

"Obviously, everyone is doing that now, with other gyms and fitness centers," Shamburg said. "We see that throughout the country, and we didn't want to get behind."

Some physical upgrades were needed to prepare the YMCA facility for 24-hour access, which will be limited to the cardio, fitness and weight area on the first floor. Men's and women's bathrooms will be available near the south entrance.

Security gates have been added to close off the hallway leading to the locker rooms and pool, and to the downstairs facilities, after normal business hours. Cameras were added to and repositioned to better cover areas that will be open after business hours, and extra security lighting was added to the south parking lot.

A security system, allowing members to enter through the south door using an app on their phone, also had to be installed.

Total cost to prepare the YMCA for 24-hour access was about $3,000, Shamburg said, in large part because the facility is laid out in a manner that made it easy to section off the fitness area.

"This is really set up perfectly here for this," Shamburg said. "The set-up here really made it pretty easy to make this change."

Shamburg said he hopes the change to 24-hour access will make the YMCA more user-friendly for patrons with early or late work hours or family commitments.

"We want to keep being progressive and give people more opportunities to come in, whether it's nights, weekends or holidays," Shamburg said. "We don't want to leave anybody out, and we want them to be able to join the Y and enjoy it, if they want to."

Kim Boeckman, senior director at the YMCA, said the new 24-hour access will be useful for some of the facility's most dedicated patrons.

"We have a lot of people who are here at 5 a.m., every day, waiting for us to open the doors," Boeckman said. "They are our most consistent exercisers, and I think this will be beneficial for them."

Shamburg said he expects adding greater access on Sundays to also increase utilization of the YMCA.

"What we've seen, with Ys that have done this, is Sunday mornings and nights are really busy times for them, as people come in to exercise before church or after their family time," he said.

In order to gain 24-hour access to the YMCA, members, new or existing, will have to sign up for separate access through the phone app, and pay a monthly fee of $4.99 each to cover cost of the app and program. Each individual will have his or her own app registration to access the YMCA, and members must be at least 18 years old to sign up for 24-hour access.

Regular member rates are unchanged in 2020. But, new members will have to pay less money than in the past to join the YMCA. Shamburg said the facility recently eliminated its $65 joining fee, to reduce barriers to membership.

"We just felt like it was a deterrent to joining," Shamburg said. "And, if we want people to join the Y, why would be punish them with a joining fee?"

To sign up for 24-hour access, members will need to register in person during normal business hours — 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday —  at the YMCA.

Today, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, is the first day to sign up for the new program, and the first 25 people to sign up will receive a free T-shirt.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com.
Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for James? Send an email to jneal@enidnews.com.

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