Treasure Valley YMCA Opens Healthy Living Center in Downtown Boise 

click to enlarge The YMCA's new Healthy Living Center has taken over Nelson School Supply's old building. - JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
  • The YMCA's new Healthy Living Center has taken over Nelson School Supply's old building.


For 76 years, the small one-story building on the corner of 11th and State streets housed Nelson School Supply, selling letterman jackets, school uniforms, class rings and trophies. On the evening of March 3, the public got to see the building's recent transformation into the Treasure Valley YMCA's new Healthy Living Center.

"We were fortunate to be offered the chance to purchase that building by Rick Nelson and his wife," said Katherine Johnson, YMCA director of Marketing and Communications.

The new facility couldn't look more different from its predecessor. The walls are splashed in uplifting shades of yellow and orange and it's bright, open and spacious.

click to enlarge The YMCA's new Healthy Living Center celebrated its grand opening on March 3. - JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
  • The YMCA's new Healthy Living Center celebrated its grand opening on March 3.
The Healthy Living Center is the new home of four YMCA programs which used to take place in various meeting spaces and hospitals around the Treasure Valley. The programs focus on arthritis and joint health, cancer survivorship, weight loss and lifestyle support, and neurological and cardiac rehab.

click to enlarge Mary Biddle, the director of the YMCA Healthy Living program, said she's excited to have a "home base" for her participants. - JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
  • Mary Biddle, the director of the YMCA Healthy Living program, said she's excited to have a "home base" for her participants.
Mary Biddle has been the director of the Healthy Living program for six years now, working out of a leased space. At the opening reception on Thursday evening, she said she's happy for the program to finally have its own facility.

"This building has allowed us to create an environment for our participants," Biddle said. "A home base."

A lot of consideration went into the design of that "home base." All of the doors are wheelchair accessible; office walls are thick enough to be soundproof for HIPAA compliance; and there's a large open space where Biddle and her staff can work with participants on things like range of motion and gait. 

"We're looking at people's functionality," Biddle said. "We use very specific tools to help improve quality of life and let them get back to doing things they love."
click to enlarge This exercise room will come in handy for classes like movement disorder yoga, for wheelchair users. - JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
  • This exercise room will come in handy for classes like movement disorder yoga, for wheelchair users.


Many of the Healthy Living programs will still take place outside of the new facility for accessibility around the Treasure Valley, but the Healthy Living Center features a spacious group exercise room which will be used for a movement-disorder yoga class for wheelchair users.

Participants are not required to be members of the YMCA to access the programs, and financial aid is always available. 

"These programs create a bonded community," Biddle said. "Now we have a home."
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