ANDOVER, Kan. (KAKE) - The Greater Wichita YMCA says its Andover branch that was damaged by an EF-3 tornado two years ago will reopen on May 20. 

According to a release Wednesday morning, when operations resume, members and guests will benefit from extensive upgrades that have taken place inside, which include installation of a 44-foot climber, expanded gymnastics area and indoor gathering space for families called the Farha Family Park.

“We are very proud of what has been accomplished and can’t wait for the Andover Y to be full once again with youth and adults who inspire each other to be their best,” said YMCA President and CEO Ronn McMahon. “As a new chapter of the Andover Y begins, the Y extends its gratitude once again for all the support we received from members, local families, area organizations and businesses. By coming together as a community during the rebuilding process, we further demonstrated that the Y’s mission is stronger than any one building.”

The Y says the reopening is a culmination of two years of dedicated efforts and determination by the Y and its supporters to bring the facility back better than ever.


Previous story published on February 28:

The Andover YMCA is still under construction, but crews have been working on restoring it for more than a year with plans to open it in May.

"I'm very excited to see what's kind of changed a little bit. See what's all the same. It'll be nice to see the familiar faces go back," says YMCA member Amanda Taft.

Taft lives in Augusta, and was a member of the Andover YMCA before it was temporarily shut down after a devastating tornado tore it apart.

"There were a lot of us regulars who went to that Y, and just knowing some of the people that might have been there at that time is very, very emotional, very scary," Taft said.

Mim McKenzie with the Greater Wichita YMCA said that the loss of the Y signaled a loss of community for so many people.

"That was ripped out from underneath everyone that night of April 29th. So we are excited to be able to bring back that home, bring back that feeling of community and bring back those connections that people have been missing for two years."

McKenzie said that there will be improvements with the reopening, including a new area for gymnastics, and a new indoor park area for families.

"We have a tremendous lucky climber that kids will love climbing on, in a space now that we're going to call the park. We're so excited to be able to have families come together for a variety of ages, and be able to spend some time together in that space."

McKenzie said that the YMCA is looking for more than 160 employees for the new Andover Y.