By Hannah Sheely

SHERIDAN — The YMCA “Living Our Cause…Growing Our Cause” campaign to build a new indoor aquatic center and expand YMCA programming has reached 93 percent of its goal. Total giving has hit $15.1 million, and the campaign is now seeking support from community members.

At a community dinner held Thursday in the Whitney Rink at the M&M’s Center, YMCA Executive Director Jay McGinnis announced an undisclosed gift from Forrest Mars Jr. and a $500,000 grant from the Daniels Fund.

A third gift — a $350,000 matching grant from the Kiewitt Foundation — will push the campaign even closer to the $16 million mark as gifts from community members are matched.

Sparky Turner, senior grants program officer for the Daniels Fund in Wyoming, was at the event.

“This is one of the most incredible projects because of all the wonderful support that has been given through this community,” Turner said. “I believe this is one we can bank on because they’re not only going to maintain it and go forth with it, they’re going to build one of the best programs in the United States of America.”

The Daniels Fund is a private charitable foundation dedicated to making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming through its grants program, scholarship program and ethics initiative.

Reaching the 93 percent mark on the campaign means the design phase can begin. The plan is to break ground on the new aquatic center by March 1, 2017. McGinnis hopes that 12-14 months later people will be going down the slides.

The new aquatic center will feature a zero entry pool, a lap pool, a leisure pool, a current channel, slides and more in a space that will allow for multiple programs to occur at once. The YMCA will also re-purpose the old pools and locker rooms to expand youth programming, classes for people with chronic diseases and more.

For more information, see sheridanymca.org or call 307-674-7488.