AUBURN — Just once in his career, Brian DuBois hopes to accomplish something big.

He imagines building an 8-acre sports complex with room for everyone who wants to exercise in a pool, in a gym or on a playing field.

“There’s definitely a romance to it,” said DuBois, the new executive director of the Auburn-Lewiston YMCA.

After three weeks on the job, he’s nearly finished meeting with each member of his board of directors to talk about the  project.

“Most feel it’s about time,” Dubois said. 

The new executive is also learning that there’s something daunting about relocating a downtown institution after 87 years in the same spot.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime project,” said DuBois, 39. “This is the oldest Y in the state without a major renovation.”

He imagines a ribbon-cutting ceremony as early as 2014.

“That’s an aggressive timeline, but it’s a doable timeline,” he said.

The project and the job — succeeding longtime director Jim Lawler — came at the right time, DuBois said.

“It fit on so many levels,” he said.

A 1988 graduate of Edward Little High school, DuBois attended Bentley College and worked in private business for a short time before Lawler hired him in 1993 as the local Y’s youth and teen director.

Lawler taught him how to make the most of a space, and how to be frugal and keep a facility in the black, he said. DuBois did the job for three years before moving to Massachusetts.

He worked in the private sector again before returning to the YMCA. For a while, he served as the operations director at the Bangor YMCA. Then, he took the top YMCA job in Winchendon, Mass.

Under his leadership, the town’s Wendell P. Clark Memorial Community Center became a chartered part of the YMCA and tripled its membership.

DuBois believes a new YMCA complex in Lewiston-Auburn could ignite an explosion in membership here.

The local YMCA has about 2,300 members. The four-story Turner Street building would have more members if there were room for them, DuBois said.

“We’re turning people away because we don’t have the capacity,” he said.
“Every nook and cranny is programmed.”

So far, nothing about a relocation or a new complex is set.

“We’re at the very early stages of building momentum,” he said. “Right now, everybody has an open mind.”

All that exists are some expectations.

DuBois figures a new complex would need a minimum of 8 acres for the buildings, playing field and parking, he said.

The facility itself might mirror Bath’s YMCA is scale. That 58,000-square-foot complex includes a gym, two raquetball courts, an indoor track, an eight-lane lap pool and a child-care center.

“Seventy thousand square feet would not be out of the question,” DuBois said.

For now, he plans to bring more people into the discussion of the YMCA’s future, hoping to encourage locals to join committees. Specific sites and plans will come later, he said.

“We’re going to get people moving,” he vowed.

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Brian DuBois is the new director of the YMCA in Auburn.

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