The lead administrator for the West Cook YMCA in Oak Park has announced he will retire from the position this summer.
Scott Gaalaas, 62, has served as president and CEO of the organization since 1997. For roughly a decade, according to a statement released by the Y, Gaalaas and his wife have been planning their retirement.
The announcement comes just as the West Cook YMCA is ramping up a massive fundraising effort to pay for a new facility to be constructed in Forest Park. For several years, Gaalaas has worked with his board of directors and municipal leaders to clear the way for a sprawling campus near the intersection of Madison and Van Buren. That approval was received in January.
An estimated $12 million in donations is expected to be necessary to help pay for the $17 million project.
“I’ll continue to be available to consult with board, staff and volunteers of the West Cook Y as they work together to create this much needed facility that will have a profound impact on the character development, health and wellness of thousands of youth and families in the near western suburbs for decades to come,” Gaalaas said in a written statement.
His last official day as president of the YMCA is slated to be June 15. The decision ends a 32-year career with the YMCA, according to the group. That career took him to Indiana, Palatine and Oak Park. Prior to joining the Y, Gaalaas played semi-pro baseball for a decade, pitching for several teams in Wisconsin and the Minneapolis area.
“As an avid racquetball player, downhill skier, golfer and exerciser, he’s an inspiration to the West Cook Y’s board, members and staff,” Jim Lencioni, chairman of the West Cook YMCA board said in a press release.
A search committee has already been assembled to find a replacement, according to the Y.