There's space to spare at Whanganui's YMCA Central, and operations manager Scott Tunnicliffe is looking for people to use it.

The YMCA bought the former St George's Preparatory School land and buildings in 2012, for $1.5 million. The New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, Powerco Wanganui Trust and Whanganui Community Foundation all made contributions.

The site is 2.07ha of land, with 3820sq m of indoor space. The stately, old-fashioned buildings have no ghosts, Mr Tunnicliffe said - but lots of history.

YMCA Central serves both Whanganui and Manawatu, and it uses about two-thirds of the available space.


It caters for 160 children after school every day, and 120 children a day on holiday programmes. It has its own early childhood centre, and 50 adults and teenagers get education and training at the complex as well.

Moving the YMCA into the former private boarding school has had its challenges.

"It's taken a while to decide how best to use the facility. We've been moving things around," Mr Tunnicliffe said.

The Y has already had some temporary tenants through word of mouth - specialist teachers working for the Education Ministry, and Plunket's carseat scheme. Groups like St John and Sustainable Whanganui have used space for events.

More is possible, and there are a range of spaces to choose from - an amphitheatre for outdoor concerts, a boardroom, a kitchen, offices, classrooms and grass and concrete outdoors.

Mr Tunnicliffe is looking for groups wanting short- or long-term leases, and preferably groups with similar aims. Cost-sharing for services such as reception is possible, and the building has ultrafast broadband.

To contact him, ring 06 349 0197 or email