Spokane Elite Gymnastics was doing business in Spokane Valley for more than 30 years with several different owners before Nadine Burgess, 31, bought it in 2010 and changed the name to Spokane Gymnastics.
The idea was to let students know the gym was open to every skill level, goal and age group. Now, she has purchased a larger building to house classes for children and adults.
The former Stroh’s Fitness building at 2515 N. Locust St., Burgess now has about 28,000 square feet of space for gymnastics and parkour classes, and even classes for special-needs students.
“Structurally, the building is great,” she said. High ceilings make room for Olympic-size equipment. There are six events for men: pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars, high bar and floor exercises. There are four for women: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercises. The old racquetball rooms will be used for preschoolers – one room is being converted to hold a foam pit for students to learn how to do flips.
“You don’t have to worry about the landing,” Burgess said.
There is a running track around the main gym where parents can watch their children or walk during classes. One room will be a nursery.
She estimates the building was vacant for about a year and a half, so she’s had to do a lot of cleaning.
“It’s sturdy, (but) it needed a cleaning like you wouldn’t believe.”
Burgess said she still has about a year left on the lease of the building at 5615 E. Broadway, and classes will be moved over in phases. During spring break there were camps held at the new location and summer camps will be held there, too. She expects to have from 60 to 75 percent of the classes at the new location by the fall.
Formerly a real estate agent, Burgess knew the location of the building was important since she gets students from all over the area, from the South Hill to Liberty Lake.
She is doing much of the work herself, putting down flooring and taking care of other chores, but she’s also contracted out for the bigger projects.
There is a pool in the building, but instead of turning it into a pool, Burgess has a vision of turning it into a foam pit or maybe an in-ground trampoline.
The old locker room will be the changing area for students.
Growing up in Grants Pass, Ore., Burgess said she was a kid who was always bouncing off the walls with a lot of energy. She never took gymnastics, but was self-taught. She’s been coaching since she was 14 and later became certified.
She moved to Spokane in 2007 and immediately started looking for a gym. After she bought the business, she wanted a place for not only the elite gymnasts, but a place for kids who wanted to come and learn how to do cartwheels. She now offers classes for all ages and abilities.
There are six full-time employees, and she has hired four more part-time employees bringing that number to 34. She said she loves it when her coaches follow their passions and bring new ideas to the class schedule, such as parkour, which is urban gymnastics, and even slack line classes.
When a coach has a new idea, “my inclination is to say ‘yes.’ ”
About one-third of Burgess’ students are boys. She said when she has male coaches, the boys come in and see that it’s cool and find out gymnastics helps boys with their balance, strength and flexibility.
Spokane Gymnastics has been partnering with the Spokane Sports Commission and this summer, will bring the Tumbling and Trampoline 2014 Elite Challenge to Spokane in June.