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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