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The First Fitness Facility To Be WELL Certified

In 2014, planning began to renovate the Stonestown Family YMCA in order to address the emerging needs of the community it serves. From the very beginning of the planning process, YMCA of San Francisco President and CEO, Chuck Collins, held the vision that this renovation would make the Stonestown Family YMCA a beacon of health and wellness for its community. In the early planning phase of the project, the YMCA of San Francisco was informed about a new building standard being developed to address health and wellness: The WELL Building Standard™ through the International WELL Building Institute™. YMCA of San Francisco and Stonestown Family YMCA leadership were inspired by this new standard and decided to take on the challenge of becoming WELL™ certified.

After years of hard work and dedication, the Stonestown Family YMCA passed its performance verification in December of 2018, becoming the first fitness facility in the world to be officially certified under the WELL Building Standard™. The Stonestown Family YMCA has achieved certification at the Silver Level, demonstrating a strong commitment to supporting human health, well-being, and comfort via the built environment. The Stonestown Family YMCA staff, donors, and partners are proud that generations of community members will benefit from a facility built around one of the Y’s three areas of focus: Healthy Living.

The Stonestown Family YMCA team worked with Delos Consulting, ELS architects, MHC Engineering, and Hillhouse Construction to ensure that the following seven WELL principles were incorporated into the building design, infrastructure, features, and policies during the 2016 renovation. 

7 WELL Standard Principles


The facility provides better air filtration, reduced sources of air pollution, and increased ventilation. It was built using materials with low chemical off-gassing, and is cleaned to a high standard using non-toxic cleaning agents. 


The water bottle filling stations contain dense filters that deliver clean water tested to be free of inorganic and organic contaminants, in order to help members and staff stay hydrated and improve overall health.   


Staff policies were put in place for healthier food choices that eliminate foods containing harmful trans fats or high levels of sugar per serving, to help staff stay energized and focused. 


The facility is designed to maximize natural light and incorporate artificial light that optimizes the body’s natural routines to promote daytime alertness and enhance sleep at the end of the day. 


The fitness equipment and program schedules were optimized to support active daily routines for members and staff, ensuring they have the strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular capacity needed to live full and active lives. 


The facility design prioritizes physical comfort through ergonomics, temperature, and minimized noise and smell to optimize productivity and satisfaction with the environment for members and staff. 


The staff and members have access to programs and resources designed to improve their mental and emotional state and increase mindfulness. The facility also incorporates new environmental design elements that include colors, lighting, and decorative elements which reduce stress, and enliven and enhance mood.