Brown Branch YMCA celebrates renovated facilities

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 24, 2004

The Claude C. Brown Branch YMCA is getting a complete facelift this week.

According to John Solomon, executive director, it’s the first makeover that the 35-year-old building has had. Solomon, who has been executive director for 20 years, said that refurbishing has been done piecemeal.

And he’s very excited that through the efforts of staff, volunteers and area contractors every surface will be gone over and redone as needed.

The refurbished building will reopen Monday, March 1.

Monday was dedicated to cleaning and hauling out trash. Solomon said that the staff with the help of some volunteers would handle the cleaning detail and replacing the building’s ceiling tiles. Monday afternoon a group of youth from the Perry Varner Educational and Training Facility were scheduled to be on site assisting a group of YMCA staff members, including Solomon; Angie Miller, YMCA CEO; Louise Norton, child care director; Bradley Davidson, operations and camping services director; Allyson Dansby, program director; and Lee Williams, maintenance.

The YMCA has contracted with several businesses in the area to do the painting, redo the front reception desk, replace the glass in the doors in the front entrance, to create a place in the reception area for display of paintings, trophies and other historical memorabilia and to handle other work beyond the skill of staff and volunteers.

The Brown Branch serves 800-1,000 persons a year, according to Solomon, through a variety of programs.

These include basketball for youth, swimming and swimming lessons, adult day care, after-school tutoring program, a 10-week summer foundations program for children, and an adult basketball league.

Solomon said that since he arrived as executive director in May 1983, the building has been painted in phases, a new roof put on the gym, and a new floor several times in the gym.

Solomon said that there are 2,434 YMCAs in the United States and of these 128 are African-American.

Six of these are in Alabama, including the Brown Branch in Selma.

Angie Miller appealed to the community for volunteers this week to help out as needed.