Road to recovery: A look inside the Andover YMCA

On Wednesday, we got a look at the damage caused by the April 29th EF-3 tornado and a better idea of when the facility will reopen.
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 5:43 PM CDT
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ANDOVER, Kan. (KWCH) - What started as a funnel, eventually touched down, gained momentum and grew into a large cone that caused extensive damage throughout the City of Andover on April 29. The EF-3 tornado blew out windows, threw around multiple cars and ripped apart pieces of the Andover YMCA.

Four months later, we’re getting an up-close look at some of the damage and a better idea about when the Andover YMCA will reopen.

“It’s taken a long time to demo the building, kind of ascertain, you know, what can be saved, what can’t be saved. We’re kind of on the tail end of that now.”

Greater Wichita YMCA CEO Ronn McMahon said the administrative offices, locker rooms, and lobby sustained some of the most significant structural damage, but every part of the building was impacted in some way.

“Because everything was open and the roofs were open, there’s water damage everywhere,” said McMahon.

He said some areas are structurally salvageable and will be rebuilt the same as they were, but other sections of the building will be redesigned.

“Just completely demolished on the west side of the building. So a lot of that will be rebuilt from scratch. A lot of the east side of the building will be down to concrete and steel. So, everything on the inside will be brand new, everything, for the most part. There are some parts of the building we can save, so it’s not all the way to the ground,” McMahon said.

He said the goal right now is to open the water park by next summer and they’re targeting the spring of 2024 to open the YMCA building. McMahon said crews are working as efficiently as possible to get the work done. In the meantime, he said, many members have utilized other YMCA locations.

“We’ve got a lot of support from the community. A lot of our members are finding they can go to the East Y, the North Y... they’re only 10 minutes away,” McMahon said.

Some activities, like youth sports, will resume at the Andover YMCA in the fall. McMahon said all of the turf has been replaced and they are looking forward to having some of their members back.