The Daily Journal

Daily Journal February 16, 2017

“Four years, and me for a change,” said Peter D’Amico, Newtown Youth Academy (NYA) founder and director. Renova ons – a private $1 million investment – will begin this week at the 86,000-square-foot sports complex that he built in Fair eld Hills. The NYA opened for use in November 2008.

Changes will include addi onal square footage for recrea onal/mul purpose space, resurfacing the athle c courts, and reassigning the uses of the two main wings – the track and eld house and the turf wing – where guests play basketball, racquetball, soccer, lacrosse, tennis, run on the track, and more. He hopes to make a more e cient use of space, he said. Changes will not have a large a ect on programming and group tness class, personal tness training and instruc on, which will con nue throughout the upgrade.

Earlier this year Mr D’Amico had reached out to primary stakeholders, met with local youth sports program coaches and managers, Newtown Parks and Recrea on sta , NYA employees and managers, and individuals par cipa ng in the sports training and tness. “We asked and listened and came up with a plan,” Mr D’Amico said. Court surfaces will be upgraded “to op mize grip and slide,” he said, o ering one example. Why? “You work things and you learn, and we have learned what works and what doesn’t.”

As the changes take place during the coming months, he said, “I think the facility will be signi cantly be er and go from great to the best.”

Three primary areas inside the building will all see changes.

Star ng this week the facility began a mul phased construc on plan a ec ng the tness center, the turf wing, and the track and eld house.

Sports wing manager Kathy Brophy looks forward to changes. The current space will be recon gured, adding new dedicated areas for sport-speci c training, expanding to create greater exibility and access for sports groups and training, community events, and family fun.

The project’s es mated comple on date is in November Ms Brophy said.

The tness center will be expanded by 2,750 square feet to include a new func onal performance lab, group tness studio, and dedicated room for spin classes. Ms Brophy explained that the tness studio and performance lab are addi ons. The exis ng spin room currently serves as mul purpose space, she said. The building’s footprint will not change. Mr D’Amico explained this week that a wall will go up inside the building and second oor rooms will be included in what is now a cathedral space.

The track and eld house, a mul sport wing, will be redesigned for athle c and recrea onal ac vi es with dedicated areas for sport-speci c training. This week Mr D’Amico talked about newer areas to prac ce ba ng, a room dedicated for children’s programming, storage, and more. Children’s Program Director Courtney Myslewski said, “We can always count on this space…” She hopes to start children’s par es, too, she said.

Two new mul use courts, a tennis court, a newly designed indoor track, dedicated space for day me NYAKids and ClubFun, and a state-of-the-art baseball/so ball training center are all also in the plans. Flooring materials will be be er for the various sports, said Ms Brophy.

“The tennis court will be more tennis friendly,” she said. The NYA had a mul purpose oor, but customers wanted courts more suited for basketball, for example, she said.

The new turf wing will be approximately 30 percent larger than the current space. The new space will be more versa le, allowing the turf to be divided into mul ple sec ons of varying sizes. The full eld will be lined for both soccer and lacrosse.

“This gives us more exibility to meet customers’ needs,” Ms Brophy said.

NYA will also be adding a mul purpose conference room and a mo on analysis/sports tech center. Mr D’Amico said the center will help coaches and athletes “study how the athlete is doing and improve.”

The room will include cameras and so ware to provide “instant feedback,” explained Mr D’Amico’s assistant Kaki Taylor.

Fitness Manager Dorrie Carolan is excited that the project, which will include a new group tness room, is nally happening. “It’s been on my wish list since day one! It’s been interes ng to watch the progression of the changes at NYA, all of which have been very posi ve.”

She said that when the tness center was included in the project at NYA, group tness was not a part of the original design. A small room was included and eventually made into a group tness room. “Unfortunately, it limited the amount of people able to a end class. We will now be able to hold larger classes and have a dedicated spin room.” She said the changes “will be awesome!”

Claris Construc on Inc will be doing the work. Background

Since the opening of the mul use sports complex on November 1, 2008, NYA has served as a hub for community ac vity, tness training, and sports compe ons. It has gained a reputa on for being a safe, clean, eco-friendly, and ultramodern facility that services Newtown residents and the surrounding communi es.

According to its website, NYA is a not-for-pro t, community-centered organiza on dedicated to providing a safe and construc ve environment that will bene t the health, tness, and general well-being of all Newtown area residents. The NYA is the realiza on of a dream held by Mr D’Amico, whose lifelong love of coaching and athle cs inspired the idea to create a place where people could develop an apprecia on for sports, enjoy general tness, and an enhanced quality of life.