We've made significant progress on a number of fronts over the weekend. But much work and coordination of effort remain before the Westport Weston Family Y will be able to resume limited service to our Members and community.
Family Y senior staff and directors will meet at the Y on Monday at 10 am; they and other Y staff members have been asked to gather at the Y for a meeting on Tuesday at 10 am.
The joint meeting of the Family Y's governing Board of Directors and Board of Trustees that was scheduled for Monday, Oct. 29, will be held Monday evening at Greens Farms Church. Our volunteer leadership will be briefed on the damage and our plans to get back in operating mode. They will also receive updates from the Construction Committee and Project Manager about our Building What Matters campaign to fully fund and construct our new Y facility at Mahackeno.
"We will come out of this, there is no doubt about that," said Family Y CEO Rob Reeves on Sunday. "Once our building is safe to reopen, starting on a limited basis, we will continue to serve our Members and community right up until we move in our new building in the fall of 2014."
What follows is the latest information about the specific repair and restoration efforts we are currently dealing with, as well as a very positive note about the support our Family Y is beginning to receive from other YMCAs around the country:
Emergency generator power has been supplied to the Bedford Building. Our Child Care Center and the Lower Gym in the sub-levels of the building, both inundated by the tidal surge, remain disconnected. We will continue to add temporary power to other areas of the facility as we work on restoring our main power supply, which will need to be removed, repaired, reinstalled and then inspected before we can get the CL&P power turned back on.
Pat Costanzo, our tireless Senior Director of Facilities Management, met with our boiler contractor on Sunday to begin to diagnose the problems and plot a solution. We're ordering replacement parts and once they are installed we'll be able to determine whether the boiler can be repaired or will have to be replaced. (We have an order for a new burner on hold, in case that becomes necessary.) Current estimates are that we will remain without heat for at least another week.
Our remediation experts from ServPro have worked through the weekend and have removed all debris from our Child Care Center. Now begins the next phase of recovery: drying the space with high-speed blowers, removing damaged drywall and floor tile. Then all surfaces, including the brick walls, will be scrubbed and treated with an antimicrobial spray so that mold will not grow.
Plans to Reopen
First, and in order to ensure the safety of our staff and Members, the fire-alarm stations and smoke detectors that got wet will be replaced and our sprinkler systems evaluated so that our fire safety systems are fully functional.
Once we get power restored to our locker rooms, upper gym and both levels of our fitness center, we will be in a position to open those areas of our Y to Members for showers and workouts, provided we are allowed to do so without heat. No specific date for reopening has been set.
As mentioned previously, most programs and classes, such as Gymnastics and Dance, will remain canceled until we have heat -- we don't want our gymnasts training in the cold.
Our two pools will not be operational for another 10 days, at best. Assuming we get the boiler parts in and installed and get the main electrical panel up and running, we still need to have a new pool heater installed (it has been ordered) and filtration system repaired.
Tasha Dennison reports that she and her teachers have been successful in reaching nearly all of our Child Care families directly. We're also getting help from Child Care parents who know of other families still without power or use of a phone, in our efforts to connect with everyone involved in our Early Learning Programs.
"Parents have been very supportive and positive," said Tasha on Sunday morning. "They understand that our Y is working round the clock to get us back up and running however best we can. Much like our building, I still have no internet, lights or heat in my home, but just like our Y, I'm still standing!"
The Westport schools are scheduled to open on Monday, which will allow us to resume our After School program at Long Lots elementary school. We are also planning to host our Kinderkids students at Long Lots as part of our After School program this week, and are in the process of contacting those families with specific instructions.
Please be aware that all Westport schools will be closed on Tuesday, Nov. 6, for Election Day, which means our After School and Kinderkids programs will not take place on Tuesday.
Tasha adds that she has been contacted by Audrey Hertzel, of Sterling Investment Partners, with the wonderful news that one of her clients, Discount School Supplies, has offered to donate much of the school and craft supplies the Child Care Center will need. We will happily give you more news on that front as it develops.
Support for our Family Y is also coming in many other ways and from many places.
Here is an excerpt from a message sent to YMCAs throughout Illinois by Jan Pate, Chair of the Social Responsibility Initiative of the Illinois State Alliance of YMCAs:
Dear Illinois Y Colleague:
I know we have all been extremely concerned about the situation with our brothers and sisters at Ys in the storm-impacted areas of the Northeast. Many Ys in our state (and Y staff and members) have been asking what we can do to help.
Many Ys fortunately sustained little or no damage, and are working in their communities to provide support to others.
However, the Westport Weston Family Y sustained significant damage, particularly to its Child Care Center. While insurance will take care of much of the disaster cleanup, it does not fully cover the cost of all of the toys, supplies, books, materials, etc., that they will need to become fully functional once again.
The Illinois State Alliance of YMCAs, through its Social Responsibility Committee, is asking all Ys to create a two-week fundraising campaign beginning Monday, November 5.
I hope that during this season of Thanksgiving, when we all have so much to be thankful for, we can stretch just a bit more to share our bounty with a Y that needs our help. Thank you in advance for your support of this effort!
Chair of the Social Responsibility Initiative
Illinois State Alliance of YMCAs
Rob Reeves reports that he has received similar gestures of support from the Connecticut State Alliance of YMCAs and other individual Ys around the country, as well as Y USA. (To make a direct contribution to our Family Y, please click here.)
As we continue the difficult and complex task of "Re-building What Matters," we will continue to provide you with further updates about repair efforts, when we expect to be able to resume limited operation, the support we're getting and what we will need in the days, weeks and months to come.
If you have a specific question or would like to volunteer your support, please contact Rob Reeves directly, via email@example.com or 203-226-8981, ext. 131.