The Silver Bay YMCA Conference Center plans a significant expansion this fall.
Photo by Lohr McKinstry
SILVER BAY — The Silver Bay YMCA Conference Center is planning a $13 million expansion that will include a new two-story lodging, dining and conference facility.
Construction is expected to start in September, Silver Bay Chief Executive Officer Steve Tamm said.
The new complex will add an undetermined number of new full-time jobs to the 45 already at Silver Bay. The resort additionally has about 200 part-time seasonal positions that will also increase.
Tamm said construction of the 42,000-square-foot building will be funded in part through a $4 million gift from Virginia (Rowan) and Manning Smith, long-time supporters of the Silver Bay YMCA.
The building will be named in honor of Virginia Rowan Smith’s great-grandfather, William Boyd, an early leader of Silver Bay and the YMCA, Tamm said.
Tamm said the William Boyd Center will become the heart of Silver Bay’s 700 acre campus in the town of Hague.
“The first significant addition to the inn at Silver Bay since the 1920s, the William Boyd Center will bring Silver Bay’s campus into the 21st century,” he said.
Silver Bay YMCA was founded in 1902 on about a mile of Lake George shoreline.
Tamm said the new building will enable them to offer year-round programming, instead of the summer-based schedule they’re on now.
“The William Boyd Center will be a real game-changer for Silver Bay,” Tamm said. “Historically, Silver Bay has been primarily focused on its summer programs. This can no longer be the case.
“Our customer demands, coupled with rising costs and other challenges, require us to look beyond the 10 weeks of summer. We can now look forward to hosting large conference groups throughout the year.”
The Smiths’ $4 million gift is one of the largest in the conference center’s 114-year history, said Michael D’Attilio, chairman of the Silver Bay YMCA Board of Trustees.
“We are extremely grateful to the Smiths for their dedication to Silver Bay and their commitment to this project,” said D’Attilio. “We know their generous gift will serve as an example and an inspiration to the entire Silver Bay community.”
Silver Bay expansion concept art
Phinney Design Group, a Saratoga Springs-based architectural firm, is the designer of the William Boyd Center, which will have an Adirondack motif.
In addition to a spacious dining room, commercial kitchen and 22 guest rooms with private baths, the new center will include flexible conference and meeting space.
“Although air-conditioned, heated and wired for the latest audio-visual technology, the building’s architecture will complement the landmarked campus and its natural, Adirondack setting,” Tamm said.
Tamm said that the William Boyd Center is the centerpiece of a master plan guiding the re-development of Silver Bay’s campus.
That plan includes a new wastewater treatment system and an advanced stormwater management system to protect Lake George’s water quality.
“The project, which includes demolition of the existing dining hall, will provide new jobs for many contractors, sub-contractors and workers,” Tamm said. “Moreover, with more year-round business, Silver Bay will be able to create new full-time jobs for local residents.”
Tamm said naming the new building in honor of William Boyd was a sensible decision.
“William Boyd led from the front,” Tamm said. “He challenged his fellow trustees to be generous financially and to make hard decisions about the future course of Silver Bay.”
Boyd served on Silver Bay Board of Trustees from 1917 through 1926, helping to steer the relatively new conference center through a difficult era, Tamm said.
His career with the YMCA included service as the secretary of the Kansas City YMCA, as well as a mission to China, where he and his wife helped finance the construction of a women’s gymnasium at the first college for women in China.
He was the first of five generations of his family to assist Silver Bay, a family that included his daughters, Margaret Rowan, Miriam Parlin and Isabel Proudfit, along with their children, their grandchildren, their great- and great-great-grandchildren.
Boyd’s great granddaughter, Virginia Rowan Smith, said she and her husband are honored to make the gift to finance the new center.
“Manning and I are pleased to be able to provide a lead gift for this important Center, naming it for William Boyd, a trustee who had so much to do with keeping Silver Bay afloat in the 1920s,” she said. “And to think it all started over a hundred years ago, when he introduced his young daughters to Silver Bay in the summer of 1910.”
With the completion of the William Boyd Center, Silver Bay YMCA will be in a stronger position to fulfill its mission of renewing, refreshing and nurturing the mind, body and spirit, said Tamm.
“In an increasingly busy and troubled world, Silver Bay strives to be a place where individuals, families and conference groups of diverse backgrounds can come to relax, renew and refresh in a safe and wholesome environment,” Tamm said.
Tamm said that the project, when complete, will enable them to strengthen their partnerships with local communities and enable more programs like the teen center in Ticonderoga, the free military rest and relaxation program, and the Youth and Government Program.
“While Silver Bay’s influence continues to grow globally and nationally as a result of the many conferences and gatherings it hosts, the center also has a strong local impact,” Tamm said. “The positive impact we have on the local community is significant.”