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2014-02-23 at 14:20

New purpose

By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
91.5 CKPRWin a backyard BBQ valued at over $1500 with Your At Play Station, 91.5 CKPRClick here

Nine years after closing, the former Fort William Collegiate Institute’s gym is open for business.

The gymnasium of the school, which closed at the end of the 2004/2005 school year, is now the home of Giant Gymnastics.

Giant Gymnastics owner Jennifer Nedgial said the new space, which is being leased for 10 years, is a major upgrade for her program and the facility is one of the best for gymnastics in the region.

“It is the largest in Northwestern Ontario so it has been amazing to come in here and it’s just beautiful,” Nedgial said.

“We’ve spent about $100,000 on equipment including a foam pit, which is the first for Northwestern Ontario. We have spent quite a lot of money on top quality brand new equipment and that is excellent for athletes’ injury prevention and having fun.”

The move became necessary for Nedgial after popularity of her six-year-old enterprise has soared. With 1,000 members, her old space was no longer suitable.

After looking at a handful of different options, she became enamoured with the former home of the Blue Bears.

Between the size and spaciousness of the gym, the athletes have all the equipment they need to thrive.

“It’s really good,” said Mackenzie Larocque, 11. “I had never been in a pit before so it was my first time when we came here. It’s really amazing how we can get all of this equipment.”

Nedgial is looking for her group to grow to 2,5000 members.

With bleachers and an elevated viewing area, she also envisions the facility becoming the ideal venue to host future gymnastics and cheerleading competitions.

The building is owned by local developer Ahsanul Habib, who purchased it from the Lakehead Public School Board more than six years ago.

He intends to turn the rest of the school into a condominium building.

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Tbnewswatch.com(4)

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Comments

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AreaResident says:
Hi, it's nice that your business is growing but what about the area residents who have lived here for 30 yrs+ and parking is limited to calendar parking and now those residents are getting parking tickets because your members are congesting the streets around; 2500 cars in a given week? And you have access to a full parking lot now and some don't use it....what happens when the Condos are completed and they are given space for parking in the designated parking lot, where will your members park on the streets again?
2/23/2014 6:11:06 PM
activekids2014 says:
Arearesident you need to realize that any growing business is Thunder Bay is a good business. Its a great new facility and its being used now instead of sitting empty! what's your next complaint? that the condos and people occupying them are driving you crazy because they are parking in your way of your home? What did you do when the school was active? Students parked their cars everywhere too! Once the snow has melted a little bit your streets are much more less narrow then everyone will be happy not getting stuck because you home owners of the area refuse to use a driveway and park on the streets and the plow can't get thru! I think the move is great for the owner, and you should too! Its utilizing all the old buildings that are in Thunder Bay and not vacant! Keeping it local..isn't that the motto for this city?? I think a move like these and any other business is great idea! Congrats to them growing I say!
2/25/2014 10:16:32 AM
bluebear1985 says:
I'm happy that they're finally using at least part of the building for something. In any case, it will always be FWCI to me. Blue and gold forever!
2/24/2014 3:17:54 PM
AAKK says:
@AreaResident I'm pretty sure (But don't quote me) that they are planning on making parking inside the building. I heard they were planning on making the old cafeteria into their parking space, but that may just be a rumour.
Regardless I LOVE that they are using this amazing gym. We could use more activities for kids in Thunder Bay and what better than something actually active. It makes me want to take gymnastics, that's for sure!
I hope they never take down that blue bear sign! I attended FWCI grade 9-11 (they closed my grade 12 year) but I'm forever a blue bear. It would be cool to watch a competition there!!!
2/24/2014 5:14:22 PM
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