Lingering debt concerns loomed as the Dryades YMCA board of directors, who also run the James M. Singleton Charter School, gathered on Dec. 20 for their final monthly meeting of the year. The agenda focused more heavily on the Y than the school.

Catrina Reed, the organization’s chief financial officer, delivered the finance committee’s report for the period ending Oct. 31.  Bank reconciliations show a current deficit of $180,000, a figure that was met with grumblings among board members but that is down significantly from last year. “We’re closing the gap,” board president Douglas Evans said. The finance committee proposed carrying over the deficit into next year’s budget.

The Y will ring in the new year by embarking on its most ambitious fundraising campaign ever, in partnership with a statewide effort by the Louisiana Collaborative. The campaign will run through March.

The Louisiana Collaborative unites YMCA’s statewide to solicit private donations for community-based initiatives. Board members said the Dryades Y has a unique opportunity to enlist the support of local groups by explaining that its role in the community goes well beyond the “gym and swim” function commonly associated with national Y’s.

Nonetheless, work continues on the final stages of the Y’s Natatorium and Wellness Center. No engineers were present to provide an update on the status of construction, but Evans offered his view that the current hold-up owes to questions about the cost and durability of tiling.

A March opening is tentatively scheduled, but  “the completion date is fluid,” Evans cautioned, “just like the water that will go in the pool.”

Twelve of 17 board members were present for the meeting as were four staff members.