CARBONDALE, Pa. -- The preschool program at the Greater Carbondale YMCA in Lackawanna County is in such high demand, that The Y is trying to expand into its former pool area.
The project is years in the making, but this week got a big boost from the state.
Thanks to a grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development, the Greater Carbondale YMCA is a big step closer to a long-awaited expansion project.
"It was really exciting, I came in Monday morning to that email. So, I gathered some friends around and said, `look at this!` and we all cheered," said Heather Murphy, The Y's Development Director.
The YMCA was awarded $200,000. It will help them finish a project that was started several years ago when workers filled in the building's old pool. The extra space will make room for a larger kitchen.
Right now, it's cramped.
"Very very warm, and very very hectic, yea, lots of meals, about 7,500 a month. So, it`s a lot of cooking but I have a lot of help," added Chris Conigliaro.
YMCA employees told Newswatch 16 they need a bigger kitchen because they're also preparing for more people. The former pool space will also be new classrooms for The Y's growing preschool and head start programs.
"We have quite a few families that want to come to our program and benefit from it, unfortunately, we`re filled right now and with the expansion of the bottom floor we`ll be able to serve more families," said Alice Cavalier, a preschool teacher at the Greater Carbondale YMCA.
The YMCA in Carbondale is still waiting to hear if it will receive a state gaming grant to provide the rest of the funding needed for the project.
If necessary, the work will be done in phases.
"We really need to expand some of our programs, and that space is just waiting to be used, we just needed the funding to take it to that next level. Now we`re ready to get going with it," Murphy added.
If everything goes as planned, work could start before the end of the year.