Cook County YMCA

Grand Marais, Minnesota

Cook County and Cook County School District partnered with the YMCA of Duluth to create a 38,000 SF branch YMCA facility to better serve the needs of their growing community. By re-purposing an older portion of the school facility, JLG helped create a new community recreation center that offers a full-court gymnasium, an aquatics center, multipurpose meeting spaces, weights and cardio areas, and an aerobics studio. The facility also provides enhanced outdoor amenities such as a new outdoor ice rink, a new lit baseball field, improved tennis courts, increased parking, and a community rain garden.

The design process was a collaborative effort with the community at large that included the local hockey association, the tennis association, Community Education, the School District, the City of Grand Marais, the Duluth YMCA, and the County Commission.

JLG led the community through a participatory design process that ensured all stakeholders benefited from the final design. The design process led to an addition and renovation to a portion of the Cook County School facility instead of the original intent of a freestanding new facility. This brought life back to 24,000 sf of previously underutilized space, saving the project over $3,000,000. The result was a comprehensive gathering space that encourages their community to stay connected, healthy, and active – indoors and outdoors.