Boutique YMCA co-locates with the Bison of new Buena Vista High School in Omaha

By: and - August 5, 2022 2:47 pm

The new Buena Vista YMCA Express fitness center shares a campus with the new Omaha Public Schools’ Buena Vista High at 60th and L Streets. The facility is at left. (Cindy Gonzalez/Nebraska Examiner)

OMAHA — Teachers, counselors, cafeteria and other workers at Omaha’s new Buena Vista High School dropped in Friday to get acquainted with their new fitness-obsessed, tech-driven neighbor.

That 2,800-square-foot “YMCA Express” workout space, co-located on the school’s 60th and L Streets campus, officially opens Monday. But faculty members were treated to tours and special demonstrations of state-of-the-art equipment, designed for quick workouts that can be done over a lunch period or half-hour break.

Buena Vista YMCA Express fitness center
Buena Vista YMCA Express, which opens Monday, shares a campus with raw new Omaha Public Schools’ Buena Vista High at 60th & L Streets. (Cindy Gonzalez/Nebraska Examiner)

Buena Vista is just the second new high school built by Omaha Public Schools to include a YMCA facility. The new Westview High in northwest Omaha includes a full, 30,000-square-foot YMCA.

30-minute workout

Co-locating a YMCA at the Buena Vista school campus was a “no brainer” for a few major reasons, said Michelle Hannah, the YMCA’s onsite director of health and wellness.

“This area is underserved,” she said, noting that the next closest gym in Ralston or southeast Omaha is two miles in any direction.

Also, she said, the school itself focuses on future-forward technology. And the Buena Vista YMCA branch was specifically built with innovation and workout efficiency in mind. It is the only YMCA location in the Omaha metro, she said, with EGYM Smart Strength equipment that’s appealing also for its personalized workout in 30 minutes or less.

MX4, cardio, weights

The small-scale gym offers a MX4 training program as well as traditional cardio and weightlifting equipment. While on a treadmill or stepper machine, members can look out windows that overlook the new school’s athletic fields or the front entrance. The YMCA is attached to the school but has a separate entrance. Students and Y patrons won’t be in the space at the same time.  

Brandon Brugger, executive director of the Buena Vista YMCA Express, said the fitness center is a convenient resource for YMCA members who are part of the school faculty and student body, opening potential for after-school or school-related programs that could be an extension of the classroom. Financial assistance is available for memberships.

 “I’m excited for all students to take advantage of what we have available here, whether they’ve been involved in sports in the past or not,” Brugger said.

A ribbon-cutting was held Thursday on the new facility, which becomes part of a dozen YMCA locations in the Omaha area.

Founded in 1866, the broader YMCA started as a place to serve young Christian men working on the transcontinental railroad. Today, the YMCA of Greater Omaha spans four counties in two states. The YMCA network works to strengthen communities by offering programs and services focusing on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.


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Cindy Gonzalez
Cindy Gonzalez

Senior Reporter Cindy Gonzalez, an Omaha native, has more than 35 years of experience, largely at the Omaha World-Herald. Her coverage areas have included business and real estate development; regional reporting; immigration, demographics and diverse communities; and City Hall and local politics. She has won awards from organizations including Great Plains Journalism, the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) and the Associated Press. Cindy has been recognized by various nonprofits for community contributions and diversity efforts. She chairs the board that oversees the local university’s student newspaper.

Aaron Sanderford
Aaron Sanderford

Political reporter Aaron Sanderford has tackled various news roles in his 20-plus year career. He has reported on politics, crime, courts, government and business for the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal-Star. He also spent several years as an assignment editor and worked two stints as an editorial writer. From 2005 to 2007, he served as communications director for then-Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman. Aaron most recently was the lead investigative reporter for KMTV 3 in Omaha, focusing on holding public officials accountable. His work has received awards from the Associated Press, Great Plains Journalism and more.