Armed Services YMCA concept

The future Armed Forces YMCA in Harker Heights is seen in this artist’s drawing.

Courtesy illustration

Members of the Armed Services YMCA rallied local business owners and professionals Tuesday to help raise the final $700,000 needed to bring fundraising for a multimillion-dollar facility to a close.

“We need the help from the community,” said Don Scott, vice chairman of the Central Texas Armed Services YMCA. “We need $9.3 million to do this and have accumulated $8.6 million.”

Fundraising for the construction of a two-story, full-service YMCA facility in Harker Heights’ Purser Park is in its final stretch, Scott said. The goal is to raise the last $700,000 by August.

The deadline coincides with a $1 million challenge grant from the J.E. & L.E. Mabee Foundation. The foundation will provide the funds to the Armed Services YMCA if it can raise the same amount from the community at large, Scott said.

“We are $700,000 from a project that is going to benefit everybody for years and years to come,” said Scott, noting the challenge funds will kick in at that point.

The 45,000-square-foot facility will consist of a natatorium that will serve both YMCA members and Killeen Independent School District students. The building also will have an exercise studio, gymnasium, a nursery and other features.

The Killeen Independent School District gave $2 million to the cause, so students will have access to a UIL regulation swimming pool for swim practices and classes.

“We believe by expanding the opportunity at Killeen ISD we are teaching a life skill and a competitive sport,” said John Craft, the district’s deputy superintendent.

Seton Medical Center Harker Heights also provided $2 million for the construction of the facility.

Being a partner in the facility will give Seton’s patients greater access to rehabilitation services, said Matt Maxfield, the hospital’s CEO. The facility will allow patients to work in a therapy pool when YMCA members are not at the pool. Seton also will offer other health programs at the site.

As August nears, the YMCA will enhance its outreach for fundraising dollars by conducting various informative presentations to a variety of groups, said Cindy Davis, former YMCA board chairwoman.

“We need to get some people in the community (who) are going to use this (to support it),” said Dr. Jim Anderson, a YMCA board member. “Whether you do or not, we are going to make it happen.”

The YMCA has done a great job fundraising already, said Ralph Ford, Central Texas College’s president of Texas operations who attended the organization’s Tuesday presentation.

This is a project the area needs, now it needs to “step up” and help finish the fundraising, Ford said.

The project is getting national attention, because it will be the first Armed Services YMCA to operate such a site off a military installation, said Donna Connell, a former YMCA board chairwoman.

Breakdown of donations and grants:

  • $250,000 — Central Texas Armed Services YMCA board
  • $750,000 — Community at large
  • $225,000 — Local businesses
  • $1.2 million — U.S. government
  • $175,000 — Harker Heights
  • $300,000 — National Armed Services YMCA
  • $2 million — Seton Medical Center Harker Heights
  • $2 million — Killeen Independent School District
  • $1 million — Mabee Foundation matching
  • $500,000 — Anonymous gifts
  • $250,000 — Meadows Foundation
  • Total: $8.6 million
  • Goal: $9.3 million

To donate, go to or call 254-634-5445

Contact Mason W. Canales at ​ or (254) 501-7474

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.