BLOOMINGTON — Plans for a new, larger Bloomington-Normal YMCA building to include Easterseals Central Illinois on the OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center campus, took another step toward reality on Wednesday when two doctors announced a $200,000 challenge gift.

Dr. Jerry Oakey, an orthopedic surgeon, and his wife, Dr. Laura Randolph, a plastic surgeon, pledged to match contributions to the YMCA building project from fellow health care providers, up to $200,000.

If the challenge is met, that would mean $400,000 toward meeting the $4 million challenge gift announced in September. That gift, from a Bloomington-Normal family who has chosen to remain anonymous, must be matched by the community by Dec. 31 in order for the $4 million to be received, YMCA Executive Director B.J. Wilken has said.

As of Wednesday, the YMCA needed another $1.2 million to reach the $4 million challenge goal, Wilken said.

The total project cost is $16 million. Wilken said that $12 million has been raised so far.

Lifelong Bloomington-Normal area residents, Oakey and Randolph have been supporters of the YMCA and Easterseals.

"Often in our community, we encourage nonprofit organizations to collaborate," Oakey said in a statement. "Here we have one of the finest examples coming true with the 'Y' and Easterseals ... Everyone will benefit through this project."

Randolph said "Easterseals does so much for young people in our community and to have a new state-of-the-art 'Y' facility that can serve the whole family just makes so much sense. Physicians in this community are so generous with their time and talent and Jerry and I felt we needed to contribute to helping this dream come true."

YMCA announced in April that it hopes to move from its longtime home south of downtown Bloomington, 602 S. Main St., to a new, 70,000-square-foot building on the St. Joseph campus, 2200 E. Washington St., Bloomington. The proposed building would front Washington Street with St. Joseph Drive and the medical center to the north and OSF's under-construction medical office building to the west.

OSF donated six acres of land valued at $3 million to the YMCA.

YMCA has outgrown its existing 40,000-square-foot building, which is landlocked and can't be expanded, Wilken said. In addition to larger YMCA facilities, the planned building would include leased space for Easterseals to relocate its therapy and counseling programs from 2404 E. Empire St., Bloomington, Easterseals Central Illinois CEO Steve Thompson has said.

Contact Paul Swiech at (309) 820-3275. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_swiech


Health Reporter

Health reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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