AUBURN — Leaders of the Auburn-Lewiston YMCA hope to appoint a permanent director this spring before resuming work to raise money for a new $15 million campus.

“We’ve been working closely with the YMCA national office, which has been hugely helpful in the hiring process,” said Alan Hahnel, a member of the YMCA’s board of directors.

The local YMCA has been without a permanent director since June 2013, when the organization parted ways with Brian DuBois, its director since 2009.

Following DuBois’ resignation, the YMCA’s board hired Jim Lawler.

Lawler had spent 29 years with the local YMCA, serving the past 21 years as executive director. Lawler, who had retired, agreed to return on an interim basis. It’s lasted nine months, so far.

“It’s been great, because the thing that kept me here for 29 years previously is the people,” he said. “There’s always something challenging.”

He’ll be ready to return to his retirement when the board appoints a new director, he said. And he’ll be watching as the organization reignites its plans for a new campus.

“It’s exciting times,” Lawler said. “We need a new Y. This building has gone above and beyond its duty in servicing the community. It’s old and it’s tired.

“We definitely need a new facility,” he said. “We need a new, modern pool. We’ve seen some Ys in other communities go up. It’s our time as far as I’m concerned.”

The Auburn-Lewiston YMCA has been at its current spot beside the Androscoggin County Building since 1923.

The four-story building — which has three stories above ground and one below — has little parking, exercise rooms overstuffed with equipment and a small, three-lane pool in its basement.

In fall 2011, the YMCA announced plans to raise $15 million for a new campus on a 93-acre parcel on North River Road. The land is directly behind the Kmart store on Center Street. There, the organization would have room for a pool, modern child care facilities, fitness areas, a day camp and far more parking.

Though it’s been two and a half years since the announcement, the plan remains, Hahnel said.

“The energy and focus, recently, has been to find a replacement director,” he said.

The capital campaign has been “off the radar,” he said. Once a new director is hired, the focus will turn back to the new campus.

“We’ll eventually continue forward,” Hahnel said.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: