LaPorte County Family YMCA to open MC branch at former Elston school; Petru will be director

A Google Earth image shows the fomer Elston School facility on Detroit Street in Michigan City. (Click to enlarge)

A Google Earth image shows the fomer Elston School facility on Detroit Street in Michigan City. (Click to enlarge)

Information provided by the LaPorte County Family YMCA

In 2007 the Michigan City YMCA closed after longtime financial problems. Now a new Y facility is planned for Michigan City under the auspices of the LaPorte County Family YMCA, at what seems a

Bobbi Petru

Bobbi Petru

perfect location in the heart of the city.

The former Elston Middle School, recently closed by the Michigan City Area School Corp., will be the site of the Michigan City branch. Its director will be Bobbi Petru, most recently the longtime director of the LaPorte County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Petru’s roots are with the Y organization, though. In her earlier career she worked at YMCAs in northern Michigan and Chicago, supervising three workout centers, four outdoor pools and 145 part-time employees. She also chaired the Aquatics Committee of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.

“Since the merger of the Northwest Indiana Chapter of the Red Cross, I’ve moved forward in committing my time and efforts to the Y. I will be an active part of the Michigan City Area,” said Petru, who will also oversee the Long Beach Y facility.

Cindy Berchem, executive director of the LaPorte County Family YMCA, said the Michigan City facility will begin offering some programs in January 2015 and build from there. January’s Phase One offerings will include Preschool Basketball, Youth Coed Basketball, Preschool Cheerleading, Youth Coed Cheerleading, and Youth Coed Indoor Soccer. The Y will soon add swim lessons, open family swim and lap swimming.

Later, Phase Two offerings will include wellness classes, and “School Day Out” and “Snow Day” camps. Phase Three will include the establishment of a Wellness Center. Further programming beyond the first three phases will be added to meet the needs of the community.

“The ability to utilize the athletic venues at Elston will allow the Y to serve Michigan City residents in first-class facilities,” Berchem said. “The gyms, the Olympic pool, locker rooms and nearby classrooms will enable us to provide opportunities that we couldn’t even imagine just a year ago.”

Petru will also oversee the Y’s Pre-School Educare program in the Michigan City Area Schools, MCAS grade school sports and the Michigan City basketball leagues.

The agreement to locate the Y at the former Elston school came about after negotiations between the LaPorte County YMCA and Michigan City schools, with help from Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer and the Michigan City Parks and Recreation Board.

Seeking employees

The following positions are available at the new Michigan City Branch: Desk staff, certified lifeguards, swim instructors, aerobics instructors, wellness class instructors, volunteer coaches for youth basketball/indoor soccer/cheerleading, referees. Details are available at lpymca.org/our-y/career-opportunities. Lifeguard certification and recertifications are available at the LaPorte branch. For inquiries and class availability, contact Kyle Jeffers at 219-325-9622 or kjeffers@lpymca.org.

Petru’s office will be located at Ivy Tech’s Michigan City facility at 3714 Franklin St. Contact her at 219-595-9201 or bpetru@lpymca.org.

Register for sports, programs or memberships at the Ivy Tech Office or the LaPorte or Long Beach branches or at lpymca.org. And learn more at the LaPorte County Family YMCA page on Facebook.

A schematic of the aquatics area.

A schematic of the aquatics area.

One Response to “LaPorte County Family YMCA to open MC branch at former Elston school; Petru will be director”

  1. Anne dulaney

    Jan 15. 2015

    Can you tell me if you are accepting memberships for the elston school ymca and if so when, how much, etc. thank you

    Reply to this comment

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