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SARATOGA SPRINGS: New Y opens

The hard work has paid off.

After 10 months and as many millions of dollars, the West Avenue YMCA of Saratoga opened its doors at 5 a.m. Monday, Feb. 19. There were more than 1,000 visits the first day, according to Rolland LeBlanc, the Wilton YMCA branch director who is tasked with giving tours of the new facility.

The first day was controlled chaos, said LeBlanc. "We had well over 1,000 visits, but it went smoothly."

LeBlanc said patrons have raved about the freshness of the facility and its convenient parking situation.

"That's a big issue, because the old Broadway facility did not have parking," he said.

But the greatest attraction of the new 75,000-square-foot facility, he said, is simply the layout.

"There is a lot of open space; the machines face windows," said LeBlanc. "That's the biggest attraction: How you see activity, see energy, and see light wherever you are in the facility."

For YMCA member Randy McCarthy, the biggest attraction was a little more prosaic: air conditioning.

"This place is amazing," said the 15-year-old Saratoga Springs high school student who has been a YMCA member for over a year. "The gyms are air conditioned. I love it."

The new facility features 46 pieces of cardiovascular exercise equipment and 101 machines total. The pool, which should open later this week, has eight lanes with a sauna, steam room and whirlpool on the deck. Another highlight of the new facility is a three-lane elevated track that looks down on the fitness area below. Runners can watch a basketball game or other activities occurring on the gym floor below while they circle the track, which is nine laps to the mile and is banked 2 degrees at the turns. According to Jim Letts, chief executive officer of the YMCA of Saratoga, it is the only indoor competition-grade track in any YMCA in the country.

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