Beginning April 1 the downtown YWCA will charge $500 a year for unlimited use of its exercise and swimming facilities, and $379 for unlimited use of these facilities Monday through Friday.

The Y currently charges $300 a year for unlimited use of its swimming pool, $200 for unlimited use of the weight room and $300 to participate in an aerobics program that includes 45 workouts a week.

Annual memberships costing $20 will remain available for members who prefer to pay a fee each time they use the pool, weight room, whirlpool or sauna. Those buying the $500 or $379 "full-facility use" packages can use those facilities and attend aerobic workouts anytime without paying additional fees. All members will still have to pay for classes.

The new fee structure comes at a time when the Y, at Ninth and G streets NW, has dramatically reduced its staff, curtailed its hours of operation, and the National Capital Area YWCA, which administers the downtown Y, has repaid a $345,000 deficit.

Y officials indicated that they are trying to make the facility more competitive with privately-owned health spas to become more appealing to young professional women working downtown.

In cutbacks last year the Y wiped out its arts and continuing education programs that were popular with older women and those who did not work.

"We're very aggressively going after money this year," said Alexine Jackson, president and chairman of the board of the National Capital Area YWCA, which also administers a career center in upper Northwest Washington, a home for teen-age girls in Northeast, and suburban YWCA branches in Fairfax and Montgomery counties. She spoke at the 1984 Y membership meeting of the D.C. branch in December.

"We are keeping only those programs that are financially self-supporting," explained Joy Jones, executive director of the downtown YWCA in a later interview.

Mildred MacVicar, who became executive director of the National Capital Area YWCA Jan. 1, added, "The Y simply has to keep up with the times. I know the Fairfax branch is flirting with the idea of corporate memberships."

The Y started reorganizing its programs after it discovered the $345,000 debt. MacVicar attributed the debt to several factors including the loss of $90,000 in revenues when the Fairfax Y closed for renovations for three months, a $20,000 reduction in funding from United Way and six months of unpaid bills that accumulated from May to December 1984.

"There was no leadership here for six months," explained MacVicar. "We had no comptroller . . . we went from a manual accounting system to a computer in two days and then we had no one who knew how to operate the computer."

The result was that the regional office "simply didn't pay its bills for six months," MacVicar said.

She asked a friend who worked at the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen to look over the YWCA's books, she said.

"We realized we had an unrestricted endowment that we could have borrowed from to pay off our bills," she said.

The Y borrowed from the endowment to repay most of the $345,000 and will begin repaying the endowment with 10.5 percent interest beginning in May, MacVicar said.

"We don't really have to pay it back because it was our money to start with, it's just an honorable gesture on our part," MacVicar continued. "We probably won't pay it all back," she said, adding that the Y has now paid all its bills and has no debt.

Despite all the budget problems, Jones says the downtown YWCA experienced a seven percent increase in membership in 1984 over the previous year. There are now approximately 6,000 members of the downtown YWCA, and 3,000 members of the Fairfax and Montgomery branches. The regional YWCA budget is approximately $2 million, Jackson said.

Jones and MacVicar said there are no plans to reactivate the arts and continuing education programs that were halted last fall.

"We'll offer any program that our members are willing to pay for," explained Jones, adding that if both programs were offered again the Y would have to charge much higher fees for them to break even.

A flood of members complained in the fall when the Y's operating hours were cut back on week nights from 9 to 7 p.m. Since then the hours have been revised and the downtown Y is now open until 8 p.m., Jones said.

MacVicar said with the new fees the Y hopes to build membership in popular programs such as swimming and weight lifting.

The only new program planned for 1985 at the downtown branch is a day-care center which Jones hopes to open sometime this summer, "if all goes on schedule," she said.

The center would be housed on the second floor of downtown Y with space for 65 children ages two to five. Parents could also drop children, aged 2 to 12, at the center in order to go shopping or if a babysitter failed to show up.

MacVicar also plans to open a track on the roof of the downtown building by the fall. "We're about ready to sign a contract with an out-of-town contractor to convert the roof," she said.

This year the downtown YWCA celebrates its 80th birthday. Historically the Y has always been a leader for women's rights and change. The crisis of 1984 wasn't the first in its 80 years, but said Jones, "The good thing is that when those things happen the Y doesn't close." City's YWCA Raising Its Fees By Virginia Mansfield Washington Post Staff Writer

Beginning April 1 the downtown YWCA will charge $500 a year for unlimited use of its exercise and swimming facilities, and $379 for unlimited use of these facilities Monday through Friday.

The Y currently charges $300 a year for unlimited use of its swimming pool, $200 for unlimited use of the weight room and $300 to participate in an aerobics program that includes 45 workouts a week.

Annual memberships costing $20 will remain available for members who prefer to pay a fee each time they use the pool, weight room, whirlpool or sauna. Those buying the $500 or $379 "full-facility use" packages can use those facilities and attend aerobic workouts anytime without paying additional fees. All members will still have to pay for classes.

The new fee structure comes at a time when the Y, at Ninth and G streets NW, has dramatically reduced its staff, curtailed its hours of operation, and the National Capital Area YWCA, which administers the downtown Y, has repaid a $345,000 deficit.

Y officials indicated that they are trying to make the facility more competitive with privately-owned health spas to become more appealing to young professional women working downtown.

In cutbacks last year the Y wiped out its arts and continuing education programs that were popular with older women and those who did not work.

"We're very aggressively going after money this year," said Alexine Jackson, president and chairman of the board of the National Capital Area YWCA, which also administers a career center in upper Northwest Washington, a home for teen-age girls in Northeast, and suburban YWCA branches in Fairfax and Montgomery counties. She spoke at the 1984 Y membership meeting of the D.C. branch in December.

"We are keeping only those programs that are financially self-supporting," explained Joy Jones, executive director of the downtown YWCA in a later interview.

Mildred MacVicar, who became executive director of the National Capital Area YWCA Jan. 1, added, "The Y simply has to keep up with the times. I know the Fairfax branch is flirting with the idea of corporate memberships."

The Y started reorganizing its programs after it discovered the $345,000 debt. MacVicar attributed the debt to several factors including the loss of $90,000 in revenues when the Fairfax Y closed for renovations for three months, a $20,000 reduction in funding from United Way and six months of unpaid bills that accumulated from May to December 1984.

"There was no leadership here for six months," explained MacVicar. "We had no comptroller . . . we went from a manual accounting system to a computer in two days and then we had no one who knew how to operate the computer."

The result was that the regional office "simply didn't pay its bills for six months," MacVicar said.

She asked a friend who worked at the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen to look over the YWCA's books, she said.

"We realized we had an unrestricted endowment that we could have borrowed from to pay off our bills," she said.

The Y borrowed from the endowment to repay most of the $345,000 and will begin repaying the endowment with 10.5 percent interest beginning in May, MacVicar said.

"We don't really have to pay it back because it was our money to start with, it's just an honorable gesture on our part," MacVicar continued. "We probably won't pay it all back," she said, adding that the Y has now paid all its bills and has no debt.

Despite all the budget problems, Jones says the downtown YWCA experienced a seven percent increase in membership in 1984 over the previous year. There are now approximately 6,000 members of the downtown YWCA, and 3,000 members of the Fairfax and Montgomery branches. The regional YWCA budget is approximately $2 million, Jackson said.

Jones and MacVicar said there are no plans to reactivate the arts and continuing education programs that were halted last fall.

"We'll offer any program that our members are willing to pay for," explained Jones, adding that if both programs were offered again the Y would have to charge much higher fees for them to break even.

A flood of members complained in the fall when the Y's operating hours were cut back on week nights from 9 to 7 p.m. Since then the hours have been revised and the downtown Y is now open until 8 p.m., Jones said.

MacVicar said with the new fees the Y hopes to build membership in popular programs such as swimming and weight lifting.

The only new program planned for 1985 at the downtown branch is a day-care center which Jones hopes to open sometime this summer, "if all goes on schedule," she said.

The center would be housed on the second floor of downtown Y with space for 65 children ages two to five. Parents could also drop children, aged 2 to 12, at the center in order to go shopping or if a babysitter failed to show up.

MacVicar also plans to open a track on the roof of the downtown building by the fall. "We're about ready to sign a contract with an out-of-town contractor to convert the roof," she said.

This year the downtown YWCA celebrates its 80th birthday. Historically the Y has always been a leader for women's rights and change. The crisis of 1984 wasn't the first in its 80 years, but said Jones, "The good thing is that when those things happen the Y doesn't close."