Club director Lara Collingwood shows off the old pieces of foam from the foam pit. The club has recently purchased all new foam pieces for the pit. However, because of current health protocols, the foam pit can’t be used. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Club director Lara Collingwood shows off the old pieces of foam from the foam pit. The club has recently purchased all new foam pieces for the pit. However, because of current health protocols, the foam pit can’t be used. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Smithers Saltos Gymnastics Club renovates gym

Inside and outside of building gets facelift and new equipment has been purchased

The Smithers Saltos are starting their new season with a little extra spring in their steps.

The inside and the outside of the facility they use to train in has been renovated. The club also recently signed another 15-year lease with the Town for the building on Main Street.

The outside has new siding and new windows. Inside, the front entrance and the bathrooms have been upgraded and a room for birthday parties was added. The change rooms were also given a facelift and a water fountain was put in. The viewing room upstairs has also been transformed into a work-out studio.

The club secured approximately $160,000 worth of capital grants over the past two years to pay for most of the renovations.

The building got a structural review and got a stamp approval from the structural engineer.

The gymnasts will also have new equipment to try out.

A surplus and fundraisers from last year allowed them to purchase $51,000 worth of new equipment.

At their annual general meeting on Thursday night, executive director Lara Collingwood said there were pluses and minuses to the health pandemic that started this spring.

“The club was on track until March,” she said. “From March to June, we had to cancel our spring break camps and spring sessions. The gym was closed for three months. That particular season is our peak season for school groups, birthday parties, summer camps, and drop-in programs. But we still did pretty good regardless. We were able to keep three full-time employees on during the closure with the assistance with the Canadian wage subsidies.”

She said on the upside, the closure was a good reset for the club.

“The closure did allow us to focus on gutting the building and get it ready for renovations and apply for multiple grant opportunities.”

During the closure, an online platform was created for the competitive gymnastics and the recreation gymnastics program was revamped.

“Overall, throughout the year, we had an 11 per cent decrease in revenue but said it was pretty good considering the closure.”

The summer programming for ages six years and up was able to start in June with health precautions in place. The competitive athletes could also restart their in-person training in June.

Currently, a lot of recreational programs filled up this fall and the club had to add more to keep up with the demand.

It is uncertain exactly what the competitive season will look like at this point. Currently, meets will still happen but only within the zone which includes Terrace, Kitimat and Prince Rupert.

Moving forward the club is hoping to do a few more renovations. There is a plan in place to replace and insulate the roof in the next year. Grant funding for that project is starting to trickle in.

Further down the road, the club is hoping to expand. The Town will allow them to push out the building 50 feet toward Main Street. The club is also hoping to purchase a new floor in the next year or two.

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