WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — The AEP Foundation presented a $100,000 gift to the YMCA in Wheeling! And what they are doing with the money will touch a lot of families’ lives.

This is the start of their $7 million capital campaign after COVID put a strain on it.

This money is going toward phase one of three.

Phase one includes a new roof, updating the special needs playground, and creating an outdoor classroom for their childcare area.

Wheeling YMCA Executive Director, Adam Shinsky said, “It will help us to be able to provide STEM programs with the outdoor classrooms for our camps and other programs and especially our playground is one of a kind, so it’s been used a lot, but there is a lot of special needs equipment on there so that needs updated.”

Phase two hopes to include a brand new fitness center and larger indoor childcare area, and phase three is updates to electrical and plumbing to the original building.

AEP external affair manager Joelle Moray said this playground encompasses everything the company is  all about.

“Especially with the adaptive equipment that’s out there. It helps kids with autism and kids of all abilities. There are certain equipment out there that if you’re still in a wheelchair, you can still play. It’s really fantastic and we’re really proud to be a part of it,” said Moray.

YMCA capital campaign advisor Bill Koegler said this is just the start of a huge project that is going to improve the Y and continue to make it better for years to come.

He says that’s why getting the funding for the million dollar project is so important.

“We are going to be able to maintain the YMCA, which is well over 150 years old and it will be here hopefully for another 150 and with the help of the members. the people, the corporations, the companies of the valley and the area and it’s just such a great place to be,” said Koegler.

The YMCA is looking at a time table for phases two and three.

We’ll keep you updated.