SIKESTON -- Despite most people's initial reactions to hang up on a telephone surveyor, the YMCA of Southeast Missouri is encouraging area residents to stay on the line should they receive a call concerning the Sikeston facility.
"The fact is if you get a phone call, we really encourage you to participate in it," said Jeff Partridge, executive director of the YMCA of Southeast Missouri, about the YMCA Facility/Program Expansion Survey.
In August, YMCA officials announced they were in the planning stages of expanding the current facility. Now they're at a point where they need input from the community in order to move forward.
"Basically the survey/study is designed to give us the information as far as will we be able to generate enough membership, program participation and so forth to make the facility financially stable," Partridge explained.
The YMCA of Southeast Missouri hired Phil Ballducci and Associates based out of Tampa, Fla., to conduct the market research study. As part of the survey/study, the firm will randomly select 400 people in the community and 200 current YMCA of Southeast Missouri members to do a phone questionnaire.
Phil Ballducci and Associates does several types of market research and has done a lot of survey work for other organizations and even other YMCAs, Partridge pointed out.
"Typically this company said it doesn't get a lot of hang-ups and when they make calls, people are usually responsive to it," Partridge said.
Regardless the community's participation is appreciated, Partridge assured.
"We really want their input and encourage them to participate if they do happen to be one of the people who are selected," Partridge said about area residents.
Phone calls could begin as early as this week since the final questionnaire was just approved, Partridge said, adding it's expected to take four to five weeks to get results.
Partridge estimated the phone surveys will last about 10 minutes.
"Questions will be about what we're going to offer and what facilities we'll have and then we'll get input on whether or not they like and how likely they will join the 'Y' or participate," Partridge said.
The conceptual YMCA expansion plan proposes a 50,120 square-foot facility that includes a family gym, indoor swimming pool, expanded wellness center and increased multi-use programming space.
Plans to expand the current YMCA facility stemmed from the need to provide a more family-friendly environment and meet increased membership goals, Partridge said.
Following a 20-step process recommended by the National YMCA, the YMCA in Sikeston, over the course of a couple years, created a capital development committee, which determined the program needs of the community based on interviews with community members.
And based on the results of the survey, there may be some things that will be tweaked, Partridge noted. In addition this survey doesn't have anything to with fund-raising, he said.
"From this survey we'll basically find out 'here's what we're going to have, and are we going to be able to support it operationally?'" Partridge said. "It will also give an idea of what the overall image in the community is, too."
Partridge said once this study is done, if the results are positive enough and YMCA officials know they're going to generate enough memberships and participation to support such a facility, the next step is to look at fund-raising.
Partridge said: "If the study is positive, it will be one more feather under our cap."