Preview: Norfolk YMCA set to receive new M building

A new era is on the horizon for the William A. Hunton building, the oldest independent YMCA in America, located in Norfolk, VA. This historic institution has been a pillar of support for low-income families in South Hampton Roads for over a century and is one of the last remaining Heritage YMCA’s in the country, known for providing a haven for minorities who were excluded from mainstream YMCA’s.

Having outgrown its current location on Charlotte Street, the Hunton YMCA is embarking on a transformative journey as it prepares to move to a new and expanded facility. The city of Norfolk has acquired the existing site to make way for a new Tidewater Park Elementary School location at the corner of Tidewater Drive and Brambleton Avenue, a more prominent entrance to downtown Norfolk.

Designed by the Work Program Architects, the new state-of-the-art facility will span 44,000 square feet, with a capacity for over 250 children, significantly increasing from the current 166 daycare children. The design of the building takes inspiration from the surrounding St. Paul’s neighborhood, incorporating elements of historic homes and businesses to create a welcoming and safe environment for all.

Key features of the new YMCA will include a 22-acre resilience park named the Blue Greenway, separate upper and lower schools, a spacious gymnasium with a mezzanine, a library, recording studio, and a pool that will offer swim lessons for the first time. The emphasis throughout the design process has been on safety and creating a connection to nature for the children who will benefit from these facilities.

Amidst the construction and demolition of the existing school site, the William A. Hunton YMCA will temporarily operate out of 5520 Tidewater Drive until the new building is ready in 2026. Despite the changes, the institution’s rich history and legacy will be honored and celebrated in the new space, ensuring that the contributions of those who have supported the YMCA over the years are not forgotten.

As the Hunton YMCA looks towards a brighter future, the community eagerly anticipates the opening of this beacon of hope that will continue to serve as a vital resource for generations to come. Be sure to stay updated on the latest developments by visiting