Transformation Begins of 24,000-square-foot Former Church.
The YMCA of Rock River Valley is ready to launch the renovation project to transform the former Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd into Good Shepherd YMCA. The facility is located at 1829 N. Rockton Avenue in Rockford. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on March 20 to celebrate the start of construction.

The Y first announced a partnership with the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd congregation to run youth programs at the site in December 2020. The facility, right across the street from West Middle School, was an ideal location to serve youth who could walk to the program after school. The Y acquired the building in December 2022 and began the process to secure funding for the renovation.

“Initially the vision was to create a center for youth programs, but we quickly realized the profound need for a space that serves our entire neighborhood,” said Brent Pentenburg, CEO, YMCA of Rock River Valley.

By adding memberships to this facility, the community will gain access to a fitness center and exercise studio for classes. The branch will also have a multi-use gym for basketball, pickleball and interactive gaming; a technology room; a maker space; both an art and dance studio; a fully-equipped kitchen; and a sensory space. The Y will also expand its “Molina’s Closet,” which provides toiletries and household items for youth and families served through programs.

“Let us view this groundbreaking ceremony as a result of determination and unwavering optimism,” said Kamrin Muhammad, Executive Director of College and Career Readiness. “Our goal is not only to create a facility, but to cultivate a community. It will be a place where bonds are formed, skills are honed, and dreams are nurtured.”

This project is a $2.9 million investment and is part of phase one of a $15-$20 million capital campaign that also includes projects at SwedishAmerican Riverfront YMCA. This project would not be possible without the support of our donors and partners.

“We are blessed to have Rick and Lana Engen as part of our Y family and for their lead gift to our capital campaign,” said Michelle Gorham, CFRE, Chief Advancement Officer. “Their generosity will help us meet the needs of our community and truly make an impact on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.”

Additionally, the project would not be possible without Former Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and Senator Dick Durbin for securing $750,000 in federal appropriations. Furthermore, Senator Steve Stadleman secured $600,000 from the state and Representative Maurice West allocated an additional $500,000.

Schmeling Construction and Hagney Architects are leading the project. Construction is set to start right away and is expected to be completed this summer. Future phases of the capital campaign will be unveiled as we receive funds. For information on how to make a donation, visit rockriverymca.org or contact Michelle Gorham at mgorham@rockriverymca.org or 779-500-0810.