TOLEDO, OH — The Toledo YMCA and JCC competed against each other for years until they realized the benefits of coming together under one umbrella. Now, they're taking the next step in their partnership by managing the Morse Fitness Center on the Medical University of Ohio (MUO) campus.

“We're the only one in the country where a J has the equal branch status to the Ys,” said Larry Lev, chief operating officer of the Y/JCC. “Others have talked about it, but we're the only ones who have done it at this point in time.”

While the Y/JCC faced some operational challenges in the beginning, the Y and JCC have similar missions as two faith-based organizations, which made it easier to combine their membership and business offices under one roof, Lev said. The Y and JCC signed an integration agreement last February, and early last month, the Y/JCC took over the operation of the 42,000-square-foot fitness center. The facility features an indoor track, basketball courts, racquetball courts, and fitness and orthopedic rehabilitation equipment. Lev said the center was in a great physical location, but the MUO staff didn't have much time to spend on programming due to their other responsibilities on the university campus.

“The doctors at MUO are healers and teachers and aren't in the business of running a fitness facility,” he said. “What we can bring to the table is the next level of physical fitness for the person. It will be just like another branch of the YMCA.”

Y/JCC members can now use the university's rec facility, and students can use their membership to the Morse Center to visit any of the Ys across the city.