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When visitors abandoned gyms early in the pandemic, the Holcomb Family YMCA in Spring, Texas delayed its plans to create a new gym. Globally, people were avoiding indoor spaces, especially more intimate spaces like gyms. The YMCA regrouped. The community needed a new kind of space, one that was outdoor-centered and comfortable for guests. This is what led the Holcomb team to the idea of utilizing shipping containers and then to working with Falcon Structures.
The YMCA didn’t want to scrap the plans for a new community gym. Instead, the team returned to the drawing board. The architects already working on the project felt inspired by outdoor gym spaces made from shipping containers, so they took that idea and ran with it. Due to the many pandemic-related delays, the YMCA team was strapped for time. They wanted to excite their community and provide another avenue to healthy living without a moment to waste.
Once the team working on the Holcomb project connected with Falcon, everyone began discussing the possibilities of modified shipping containers and the benefits of modular construction.
Modular construction often includes offsite manufacturing. In this case, Falcon modified each shipping container at its offsite facility in Austin, Texas, then once ready, sent them out to the Houston area site. This practice of offsite manufacturing allowed site preparations to happen simultaneously. Onsite preparations not only included pouring the foundation for the shipping containers but also building the 12,000 sq ft pavilion that covers the turf field and basketball court.
The concurrent schedules considerably shortened the project timeline compared to traditional construction alternatives, making the most of the project timeline and budget. In fact, it only took around two months from the time Falcon began container production to the date of its first occupation in Spring, Texas. Ultimately the speed of the project helped the YMCA open as quickly as possible – a substantial achievement considering the previous delays.
Not only did container-based modular construction provide a quicker setup – even saving the YMCA money related to setup and delivery costs – but the YMCA also anticipates an increase in memberships due to the pandemic-adapted space. Offsite construction also helped the onsite teams limit the project disturbances to the surrounding natural area of Lake Holcomb.
Now, the Holcomb YMCA stands as a one-of-a-kind facility inviting the community to utilize and enjoy the space. Thirteen total shipping containers comprise the entrance to the facility. Some of the containers act as office spaces, others are open-air workout spaces, equipment storage, and even bathrooms.
Guests arrive at the facility to the sight of bright orange and grey containers with the beloved YMCA sign at the top of one upright 40-foot container. Despite the changing seasons, the facility can adapt throughout the year to remain useful for the community. Ultimately, this facility has become a special place for the Spring community, furthering the YMCA’s vital efforts to inspire youth to thrive.
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