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Lawton "Y" breaks ground on expansion project

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LAWTON, Okla_The YMCA of Lawton will offer the community a new and improved facility next year. It's part of a $2 million expansion project to revamp the building so they can provide more services. On Tuesday afternoon, officials and community leaders gathered at the Y at 5th and Gore to break ground. It was the product of four years of hard work, planning and fundraising. YMCA officials say that without those efforts as well as donations from the McMahon Foundation, Liberty Mutual and the Green Family Trust, it would not have been possible. They say this project is truly about making an investment in the Lawton community.

As the people who worked tirelessly to make this moment possible got ready to use their golden shovels to break ground on this project, a sense of accomplishment filled the air. YMCA Executive Director Carl Rankin said the expansion was badly needed.

"Our community is expanding tremendously and we are busting at the seams. We not able to provide the services that we need to be providing, with this expansion, it will allow us to do more youth programming and more health and wellness programming."

Rankin said this expansion is not just about a new gym, workout room, child care facility and more services, it's about providing a sense of values for those in need.

"That stimulates children's minds and gives them reasoning for right and wrong, ability to make the right choice, those are things we take for granted. So, often our kids aren't exposed to that and its something our programs encompass."

Isabel Rosales is living proof of that. She has been coming to the Y for the past two years and said it changed her life.

"Amanda, one of my camp directors, she has helped me through a rough time when I wasn't so well this summer. I probably wouldn't be standing here right now, I'd be somewhere else doing who knows what."

Pastor Eddie Wayde said this expansion is a good example of the business and private sector, working together to make the Lawton community better.

"When I look around we don't have a lot outside of the YMCA and other small entities to offer to the kids today. We need people to invest in the YMCA because investing in the Y is actually investing in the city that they do business in."

Rankin said he expects the project will be finished in about ten months, but he's hoping it will be ready sooner than that.

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