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Carpenter Center may add gym space
April 18, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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Strong growth in the Carpenter Center Tumblers program has left the facility with a “good problem to have” – the need for more gym space to accommodate all the groups that use the center.

The good problem, as Carpenter Center Director Bob Nemnich described it, happened when the tumbling program grew to the point where more space was needed. About 120 kids participated in the first year of the Carpenter Center Tumblers in 2015. This year, the numbers are up around 215.

Nemnich’s proposal is to build a “tumbling pavilion” on the north side of the Carpenter Center, connected by an interior corridor. The new 70x125-foot building with two in-ground trampolines, an event recently added to the tumbling program. The spring floor will be 84 feet long, 20 feet longer than the existing one in the main gym.

Nemnich said the entire cost of the project is in the $500,000 range. He’s applying for a grant from the Peter Kiewit Foundation, which would cover half cost. The remainder would be raised locally. Of that $250,000 number, about $205,000 has already been pledged.

Nemnich is also pursuing some other local grants and talking with local municipalities about supporting the project. At the April meeting of the Terrytown City Council, members voted to approve $25,000 for the addition.

“We had about 80 to 90 kids in the tumbling program when I got here about a year-and-a-half ago,” he said. “We were able to use the gym two or three nights a weeks to accommodate that number of kids. Now we have 215, and that means they’re using the gym five nights a week.”

He said the program that was especially affected by space unavailability was Special Olympics. That program was able to use the gym for volleyball last fall, but not during the winter for basketball.

“I’m hoping to have this completed by the start of the school year,” Nemnich said. “The tumbling program would practice in the new facility and the main gym would be open again for Special Olympics and other uses, such as after-school basketball games.”

He added the new facility would have the needed space to handle any growth in the tumbling program, and even other gymnastics events as it expands.

“If there comes a time when the tumbling program drops off, this is still a good space for another gym,” he said.

For more information on the new tumbling pavilion, call Nemnich at the Carpenter Center, 308-635-8422.
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