HARKER HEIGHTS — Seton Medical Center Harker Heights donated $2 million to the Armed Services YMCA for the construction of a two-story 45,000-square-foot workout and rehabilitation facility at Purser Family Park.

Seton CEO Matt Maxfield presented the check at a Thursday morning dedication ceremony at the park.

Half of the project’s $9.3 million development goal has been raised from 20 contributors, said ASYMCA board chairman Larry Linder. Board members are reaching out to foundations in hopes of another seven-figure contribution, and to local residents for other needed funds.

“Once we reach 80 percent of our goal, we’ll begin construction,” Linder said.

Board member Donna Connell said an agreement with Seton called for breaking ground within the next 1 ½ years, but the project overview stated building could start by December. The facility will take about a year to finish.

Along with workout equipment, a gym and outdoor walking trails, the new facility will offer family counseling services, military family meet-ups, group exercise programs, holistic wellness programs, and nutrition and cooking classes. The new building is expected to serve more than 15,000 people.

The facility also will offer post-outpatient soldier rehabilitation programs for lost limbs, severe burns, heart issues and other war injuries, said board member Cindy Davis. The center will have a $1.5 million warm water therapy pool with a treadmill on the bottom.

“Our (soldiers) who are fighting are coming back with really bad injuries,” Davis said. “After they do their major rehab, they need to continue their own rehab. That’s what we’ll have. … The (Killeen area) doesn’t have anything like this.”

ASYMCA was started in 1966 in Killeen to provide programs and support for soldiers and their families. The organization offers before- and after-school programs at 39 schools from Lampasas to Belton, and currently runs basic family-oriented facilities in Copperas Cove and Harker Heights that will stay open after the new facility is built, Connell said.

The idea for the new complex crystallized in 2009, when the city gave the parkland to ASYMCA, said Tony Mino, executive director of ASYMCA Killeen.

“We saw the need,” said Mayor Pro Tem Pat Christ. “Our activity center can’t handle the population right now. This will give us a big, large community center, and it’ll be heavily used.”

“This is the first full-fledged ASYMCA in the country,” Connell said. The new facility will offer more features and services than the 15 other ASYMCA’s in the U.S.

It could grow as well. “The facility is built for expansion,” Mino said. “It can go to the 50 to 55,000 square-foot range.”

While the ASYMCA hasn’t been issued a building permit, Linder is optimistic that partnering with the city will help the project move forward.

Contact Brian Bradley at bbradley@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7567

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