Editor’s note: Champaign Gymnastics Academy is a sponsor of Chambanamoms.
For a few years, Champaign Gymnastics Academy management has fielded requests from its members that often revolve around additional space.
Starting this fall, many of those requests will be fulfilled. CGA begins construction this week on a 4,500 square-foot addition, which will adjoin the current space and provide opportunities to significantly expand its offerings.
“We’ve had people asking us about expanding for a while,” said Ashley Lebeau, CGA’s director of recreational gymnastics. “We see ourselves as the community’s gym. We’re trying to really honor those (requests) and continue to serve Champaign-Urbana as best we can.”
The project, which is expected to be completed in time for fall classes that begin Aug. 27, will connect to the current gym on the east side. It will create a 2,500-foot space dedicated to preschoolers, a second lobby with additional windows, counter space and charging stations, and additional floor space that will accommodate competitive and older recreational gymnasts.
“The entire preschool program is moving out of the main gym,” Lebeau said. “They will have the same equipment but they’ll have more space. We’ll be putting an above-ground pit in there. Right now we have the in-ground foam pit, so we’re going to build it up about four feet, and the trampoline will be an in-ground trampoline.
“It will be the same concept as parents are used to, where they’ll do their floor circuit and their bars, so they’re not losing anything by exiting the main gym. With them having their own dedicated space, it will allow us to offer more options.”
That includes new classes. Lebeau said a “drop-in infant class” for 15-month to 2-year-olds will be added.
“Because schedules change, how do you commit to something when you have a 1-year-old? So it will not be an eight-week commitment class,” she said. “It will have a lesson plan and a coach in there, but it’s going to be a parent/child-led class. It won’t be super-structured but there will be a coach in there showing you activities that will be age-appropriate for that group.”
The free open gym for infants will remain, she said.
Also on tap: birthday parties for children under age 3.
“What we offer now for our birthday parties is not conducive to a 2-year-old,” she said.
“As we’ve grown, we just keep cramming more stuff in,” she said. “We can offer some new things that our community members have been asking for and everything can run a little more efficiently and isn’t as congested.”