MARQUETTE — Since 2008, the YMCA of Marquette County has been working on a $3.8 million expansion of its Marquette facility.

“It’s exciting that we’ll be able to bring this to Marquette County and the community here, where our members have been asking for it for a while,” YMCA of Marquette County CEO Lisa Coombs-Gerou said. “They’ll see the progress and the excitement will start to build.”

A nearly $3 million loan that the Y obtained last year from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will cover most of the costs.

“It’s been quite a while since we started,” USDA Rural Development area specialist James Yoder said. “There were some land title issues we had to work through, some other government regulations and red tape that we had to work through. We finally got it done.”

Construction began earlier this month, and a groundbreaking ceremony took place Wednesday morning.

“This is what makes the job worthwhile, when you get to see things starting,” Yoder said. “A lot of people have to come together to make one of these types of projects work, and it takes time.”

The new wellness center will be twice the size of the current one, with brand–new strength training and cardio equipment. It’ll also feature additional locker room and classroom space, a health innovations suite and other new features.

“A bouldering wall; we’re so excited to be able to bring that to the Y here in Marquette, and then also the gymnastics program, and then the big gym, which will have an indoor running track,” Coombs-Gerou said. “So, (there are) a number of things where the community has said, ‘we need these, and let’s look at how we do that’, and we’re moving forward.”

The Y is also moving forward with fundraising to help cover the cost of the project. The organization has raised about $700,000 so far.

If the remaining construction is completed on schedule, the expansion should be finished either sometime next July or next August.