Campus & Community

PBSC and YMCA of the Palm Beaches partner for health and fitness services

Palm Beach State College and the YMCA of the Palm Beaches held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 29, officially marking their new partnership for health and fitness services at the College’s Lake Worth campus.

Under the partnership agreement, the YMCA now manages PBSC’s Wellness Center, which opened in 2013, and oversees fitness services and combined group exercises. The YMCA’s 3,000 members can now use the fitness facilities at the Wellness Center, while PBSC students and employees who already had access to the Wellness Center, can now participate in group exercises and fitness services led by YMCA instructors.

The ribbon-cutting and celebration, held outdoors in front of the Wellness Center, included tours and fitness demonstrations by some of those instructors, students and members of the PBSC men’s basketball team.

Palm Beach State College and YMCA representatives cut the ribbon signifying the new partnership. Click the image to view more photos. Photo Credit Carol McDonald. Video credit Julie Somera

“It is a great partnership for us because there is a lot of possibility and a lot of future initiatives that we’re exploring doing together,’’ said Peter Barbatis, Ed.D., vice president of Student Services and Enrollment Management at Palm Beach State College, who led the initiative with YMCA officials.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to engage in such an important partnership in the life of our College,’’ added PBSC President Ava L. Parker, J.D.

With PBSC, which opened in 1933 as Florida’s first public community college, approaching its 90th anniversary in 2023, Parker said the partnership comes at an ideal time to continue carrying out the original mission for a community college system in Florida to provide access to education and services within close proximity to residents’ homes. She said it also will allow children who visit the facilities with their families to gain early exposure to the educational possibilities for their future. In addition to academic programs, the Lake Worth campus already engages the community through the Duncan Theatre programming, as well as athletic and other events.

“It’s a natural progression that we have an opportunity for a site just like this that will provide for the mind, body and soul not just for our students, but also for our faculty and staff and, most importantly, for our community,’’ Parker said. “I feel like we’re living out the mission of the founding fathers of the community colleges when we develop a partnership that has a reason for bringing our community to us and a way to better serve them.”

The partnership also came at a critical time for the YMCA, which relocated earlier this year from its former Palm Springs site to Lake Lytal Park and now operates the Palm Beach County’s aquatics center. While it had space for classes, it did not have space for a fitness center. It also operates a county pool at John Prince Park.

“The Y’s focuses are youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate youth development through the life span. We’re looking forward to bringing our families and our young people to see what might be waiting for them after they finish high school and the many opportunities that the College offers,’’ said Tim Coffield, Ph.D., president and CEO of the YMCA of the Palm Beaches.

Under the YMCA’s management, the Wellness Center also offers extended hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays.

“This relationship is only the beginning of something that will grow,’’ added Tim Leuliette, board chair of the YMCA of the Palm Beaches.

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