Robert D. Love Downtown YMCA
“The new Y branch is a dramatic and beautiful addition to downtown Wichita, where city revitalization efforts are underway. Where tired buildings once stood, now there is a stunning three story building of stone and glass that occupies a full city block. Our building overlooks and compliments the nearby cathedral and historical government buildings, and inspires reflection on the past, present and future of our community.”
Dennis Schoenebeck, Former CEO
Greater Wichita YMCA
Situated among historic Wichita buildings, the new 116,000 square foot Robert D. Love Downtown YMCA is a keystone of rejuvenation for the Greater Wichita YMCA. The Downtown YMCA provides a community safe haven for more than 20,000 under-served youth by providing family nutrition education, swim lessons, youth sports and after school programs.
The glass structure reveals the liveliness of the building, allowing activity within to be seen and experienced from the street. At night, the building becomes an iconic lighthouse that energizes its urban surroundings with bold interior colors that draw people to the facility.
An inviting atrium acts as a corridor that connects the Market Street side of the building with the Broadway side, and serves as a hub of community activity. The lobby includes a large gathering area with a variety of seating options and a video wall. The adjacent cafe and community room make the facility not only a place to exercise but also to socialize. The 1/6th-mile running track with a 100-yard straight-a-way offers extraordinary skyline views of the city from the upper level. Patrons using the fitness equipment are also able to enjoy these panoramic views.
White oak finishes warm the spaces and provide contrast against large format porcelain tile. Custom large-scale graphics perform double duty as both artwork and an informal means of wayfinding.
Innovative, sustainable design solutions were incorporated in pursuit of LEED Gold Certification. Design challenges included redeveloping an EPA-designated brownfield site; diverting more than 75% of construction materials and waste from landfills; reducing energy consumption by 25%; mitigating the heat island effect through highly reflective parking and roof materials; providing natural daylight and stimulating views; eliminating the use of potable water in flush systems by reuse of backwash from the swimming pool; and providing bottle fillers at all water fountains to promote the reuse of bottles.
The Robert D. Love Downtown YMCA has not only aided Wichita’s revitalization efforts, but also has had a positive effect on the YMCA’s membership. According to Greater Wichita YMCA Former CEO Dennis Schoenebeck, “We have attracted new members, and have seen long term members become excited and reengaged. Since the opening of this building, our downtown participation has increased five-fold. Yes, a 500% increase, and is still growing!”