PRINCETON — North Gibson school trustees Thursday donated the Lowell South property to the YMCA of Southwest Indiana Inc.
The non-profit has plans to create a Gibson County location with areas for a STEM lab, teaching kitchen, gymnasium, child care area and more. The timetable has the building opening in early 2022.
The YMCA has been active in the greater Evansville area since 1857. There are currently four branch boards, and a fifth will be created for the Gibson County location.
Jonathan Pope, YMCA president and CEO, said he hoped what would especially stand out to those in the audience Thursday was the YMCA’s mission regarding youth.
“We are very particular about serving kids,” Pope said.
He said the YMCA has already started talking to North Gibson about potential partnerships.
Jennifer Brown, YMCA chief operating officer, presented to the school board “why a Y” in Gibson County.
A 2018 feasibility study was completed for Gibson County and it showed three specific areas of need.
The first was an inactive population with only 41% of those surveyed saying they considered themselves to have an active lifestyle.
The second was a need for wellness information and the third was more out of school activities for youth of all ages.
Princeton Mayor Greg Wright said one of his goals when becoming mayor was to improve quality of life in the city.
Wright said this has been many years in the works.
Community leaders have explored ways to bring a YMCA or some type of similar facility to the community at several different intervals over the past 30 years.
“This is a real plan that will have real results,” he said. “...We aren’t going out on a limb.”
Wright said this will be remembered as one of the greatest accomplishments of his administration and the North Gibson School Board.
The motion passed 4-0 with board member Amy Bingham abstaining, citing a conflict of interest.
The Lowell South property has served as an elementary school for decades, most recently housing kindergarten students. With the recent completion of the expansion project at Princeton Community Primary School, those students moved to the North Gibson Learning Campus this fall.