From YMCA to APEC: Harrington Electric Co. Helps Engineer a Building Transformation Project in Bedford, Ohio

And APEC Engineering finds its purpose and place serving the local community.

Harrington Contact:

Tom Morgan
[email protected]
(216) 361-5101

Remnants from the Y

The interior demolition of the old Southeast Family YMCA wasn’t a total loss. After the facility closed, the organization simply locked the doors and walked away, leaving exercise equipment, basketball hoops and other items in the building to collect dust.

The folks at APEC Engineering held on to many of those finds, including the facility’s original free weight sets, which will be used in an exercise space that the company is planning.

Also saved was a large collection of china and place settings from Bedford-based Walker China Co., which manufactured a wide range of restaurant-ware back in the 1940’s. Stop in to APEC some day, and you’ll most likely enjoy a cup of coffee from an original Walker China coffee mug!

In its heyday, the Southeast Family YMCA was the jewel of Bedford, Ohio, a 25,000 square foot fortress that offered families a place for recreation, exercise, fun and community. Built in 1955, the “Y” boasted a large gymnasium, indoor pool, weight room, kitchen, meeting spaces and community rooms. Outside the building, kids would gather to play ball on the property’s two-plus acres, with parents and grandparents relaxing on the sidelines, regaling the day’s events with their neighbors.

The Southeast Family Y was truly a vital conduit in bringing the community together.

Over the next 65 years, the area’s kids would all grow up, membership would wane, families would move, and eventually the Southeast Family YMCA would fall victim to the times and become another forgotten, dilapidated, abandoned building.

That is, until 2020 when David Berry and his company, APEC Engineering Inc., decided to take a chance on the property. Purchasing the parcel from the city’s landbank, the company spent the next 3.5 years embarking on a rehab project that has brought the old “Y” back to its original splendor, and the building’s purpose back to life.

The company, an international engineering and fabrication resource for industry, was very capable of tackling the project, with 21 professionals on staff well versed in engineering and the skilled trades. But according to Dave Berry (who began his career at Harrington Electric Co.), the largest initial hurdle was getting the entire project team to grasp his vision for the building.

“The property we purchased was a shell of a building,” he explains. “All of the electrical and plumbing had been torn out, and the roof was leaking. We demoed the entire interior, knocking down walls and taking up floors. In all, we filled 15 dumpsters with garbage.”

The next phase of the project involved installing the systems that supported plumbing, HVAC and the electrical system. That’s where APEC called on Harrington Electric for assistance.

“I’ve known (Harrington president) Tom Morgan for years, gave him a call and said, ‘when you have time, can we use your guys on this long-term job,’” Dave said. “Brad Cain a Journeyman from Harrington led the project, studied the drawings, and worked for two years as part of our project team, installing the building’s power, lighting, distribution, and everything else we needed.”

“Brad and the other Harrington guys were awesome,” Dave explains. “As engineers, we appreciate flawless, functional drawings. But when the actual work looks better than the original drawings, that’s a very satisfying feeling.”

And once the new APEC Engineering headquarters opened its doors in September, 2023, the team didn’t stand around and pat itself on the back. Berry set out on a second mission to incorporate the community feel back into the project.

“It was interesting, because as this project took shape over three years, local delivery guys and other workers would stop in and tell us how they learned to swim in the pool, or play basketball in gym,” recalled Dave. “This building really had an impact on peoples’ lives. And that’s when I started thinking about going a step further and making this a project that would be good for the community again.”

Since then, APEC has partnered with the Bedford City Schools in developing learning programs to help local students understand the basics of engineering and skilled trades, providing shadowing programs and internships in the areas of mechanical, electrical, and process engineering.

“This project has taught us so much, as an employer, stakeholder and responsible community partner,” Dave points out. “We believe that being a successful business means having a passion for your community. Success is so much more than profitability. It’s giving your workers the opportunity to learn. It’s giving back to your community by being a mentor and providing learning environments for young people. It’s teaching people how to discover and use their different skills and talents.”

“This project was truly bigger than we were. But as a company, we now understand our purpose, and have found true happiness in building strong relationships with our employees, the kids from the Bedford schools, and the community as a whole.”

APEC Engineering, Inc.

460 Northfield Rd.
Bedford, Ohio 44146

Phone: 440-232-9701

Email: [email protected]