the next level in safety

The multi-campus YMCA of Avery County needed multiple services, and SkyLine/SkyBest was there to help, providing stellar customer service throughout.

No matter the customer, SkyLine is committed to finding workable solutions to meet their changing telecommunications needs. In 2017, the Linville-based YMCA of Avery County had a significant building expansion underway with the construction of the Blackburn Indoor Athletic Facility. The Y’s CEO Trey Oakley needed voice connections installed at that location prior to opening only to find out that their existing telecom provider could not provide service to them. Drawing on his connection to SkyLine’s Edward Hinson, who had worked with him on developing the local Chamber of Commerce’s first Leadership Avery Program, Oakley called on Hinson and SkyLine for help.

According to Oakley, customer service had proved frustrating with the YMCA’s existing provider. “The provider was changing its package plans every three to six months, and when the Y had service issues, there were delays in getting support here to our location,” Oakley explained.

“We met with Edward and Brent Keith about our pressing need to get those voice connections prior to opening, and they got the ball rolling,” Oakley said. He also learned that SkyBest’s fiber-based infrastructure, which served nearby Cannon Memorial Hospital, could offer high-speed, symmetrical broadband as well as surveillance services for the multi-campus facility.

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YMCA CEO Trey Oakley, who has been with the local YMCA since 2010, led efforts to enhance safety measures at the multi-facility campus from SkyBest and its new surveillance equipment and remote applications. The surveillance app on his phone helps to keep him connected with staff and the facility, and the equipment provides 24/7 monitoring and rewind capabilities for incident reporting.

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Offering not only a presence in Avery County, but also a partnership is the key. The Williams facility is the last YMCA to be built in a small community with a population of less than 35,000. With a population of around 17,000, Avery County’s YMCA program requires additional support beyond membership fees. From fundraising events, to community and business sponsorships, to donations from individuals and foundations, the Williams YMCA requires multiple funding sources. SkyLine is among the local businesses and organizations that have supported the Williams YMCA through its annual campaign and through the N.C. Mountains Invitational Golf Tournament that benefits the organization.

The facility also was recently named a recipient of the 21st Century Learning Center grant program, a three-year, $1.2 million federal grant. The grant will enable the Williams YMCA to provide academic enrichment opportunities for children attending low-performing schools. These programs will be available before and after school, on weekends and during the summer to help the children meet local and state academic standards in subjects such as reading, math and science. There is also the potential to offer other activities for youth development, such as drug and violence prevention, art, music, technology, character education, counseling and recreation.

Cannon Memorial Hospital, could offer high-speed, symmetrical broadband as well as surveillance services for the multi-campus facility.

A previous vendor’s surveillance equipment had initially been installed at the YMCA in 2007, but it didn’t offer remote, realtime access to individual or multi-room cameras. SkyBest’s up-to-date solution did. “Our old camera surveillance system was 10 years old,” Oakley said. “We’ve added multiple new facilities and new programs over that time. It quickly became obvious that we couldn’t keep our eyes on what we had or who was within our walls to protect our kids, families and participants. Finding a solution was at the top of our list of
things to do.”

The Williams YMCA engaged three different surveillance vendors within the High Country, researching products that would meet their needs and be within their budget. The commercial surveillance system that SkyLine/SkyBest offered outperformed all three that they reviewed.

“With our old system, we simply had one hub in an office. If you wanted to see what was going on, you had to walk in there to view it,” Oakley explained. The new SkyBest system allows the Williams YMCA staff directors and program leaders to view any of the YMCA’s four facilities on campus via an app on their cell phone. “That’s been an incredible upgrade for us.”

Oakley credited Hinson, Keith, Business Sales Technician Consultant Tony Holt, Inside Sales Coordinator Hollie Brown, Security & Sales Technician Kenny Perry and the SkyBest Security staff for their professionalism and quick response to the Williams YMCA throughout the entire process of getting voice, internet and surveillance services. “Their customer service is second to none.”

The Williams YMCA casts a large net in Avery County, serving the community with its various programs geared toward all ages. The first phase of the Williams YMCA of Avery County opened in 2007 with the Wellness Center. Its wide range of classes cater to all age groups. The facility has an onsite wellness coach, who’s available at all times to assist individuals with their wellness goals, fitness plans and any follow-up that is needed. Additionally, the Wellness Center, through a partnership with the local hospital, is the home to an outpatient rehabilitation program.

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SkyBest Security’s Kenny Perry installs one of 40 surveillance cameras that provide YMCA staff access to 24/7 monitoring of the three facilities on the YMCA campus.

Over time, the Williams YMCA has continued to grow and expand its facility and services. An aquatics center with a wade-in pool was completed in 2008, and the Chapman Center, a modern community and event venue, opened in 2012. The new pool has been a welcome location for the YMCA’s Splash Program. Now in its 12th year, the Splash Program offers free swimming lessons and teaches water safety in the spring and fall to approximately 275 pre-K through 2nd grade students each year. The surveillance service provided via SkyBest in the Aquatics Center is particularly important to Oakley, as is the remote viewing access. “This area is probably my greatest concern, and I use the real-time surveillance feature to keep an eye on the pool,” Oakley said.

The most recent addition to the Williams YMCA has been the Blackburn Athletic Facility. The 26,500-square-foot facility houses two high school regulation gymnasiums and a multipurpose field house, providing a resource for athletic programs and training in pickleball, golf, baseball, basketball, soccer, dance, gymnastics and volleyball.

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YMCA CEO Trey Oakley (center) worked closely with SkyLine’s Brent Keith (left) and Edward Hinson (right) on getting much-needed voice service connections at the new Blackburn Recreation Center, followed by broadband and surveillance services. The Hugh Chapman Center for community and special events will transition to a Teen Center in the coming months.