"We think this is terrific," Mayor Kim Driscoll said. "That marble staircase is breathtaking, and to be able to enter the new Ames Hall ... through the grand entrance really demonstrates some of the impressive traits we have in our downtown architecture."
Ives, CEO of Northshore International Insurance Services, who also went to the downtown Y as a boy, wants to see the Salem facility become a center for the creative arts.
"I think the Y is really about developing a positive self-image," he said. "For some children, that comes through swimming or basketball, and for others it might come through music or performing arts. And it all flows from the objective of giving the child and young adult an opportunity to gain self-confidence in an area that interests them."
The Salem YMCA will remain committed to physical fitness and athletics, according to Executive Director Debbie Amaral, but hopes to create a first-class performance space, build a pottery studio, and add programs in music, painting, wardrobe and scenery design, and other arts.
Since last year, the Salem Y has been home to the YMCA of the North Shore's Theatre Company, which has staged three productions at Ames Hall. Its latest undertaking, "The Music Man Junior," will be performed here over the last two weekends in May.
The Theatre Company has involved more than 400 children from Salem and other communities. "The Music Man Junior" has two casts of more than 100 children.
The capital campaign is also being led by a leadership team that includes Salem businesspeople and residents: Richard Blazo, Bill and Ann Leaver, Rob Lutts, Alan Hawryluk, Maura McGrane, Betsy Merry, Christine Sullivan, and Patricia Zaido.