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T’town center set to expand: Financiers behind building Carpenter tumblers’ pavilion
September 02, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen Tumbling coach Bobbie Youel currently uses equipment in the Carpenter Center gym until a new facility can be built.

Although a hoped-for grant from the Peter Kiewit Foundation didn’t materialize, local banks stepped up to make a new tumbling pavilion for the Carpenter Center a reality.

In an interview earlier in the year, Carpenter Center Director Bob Nemnich said that between private donations and in-kind assistance, the center had raised about $250,000 toward the new facility.

After the Carpenter Center failed to receive a matching grant, First State Bank, Platte Valley Bank and Western States Bank came forward to cover the remaining cost of the $320,000 B&C Steel building.

B&C Steel also picked up some of the cost of one of their buildings, and Randy Kindvall Construction agreed to donate some of the labor and concrete work.

Once completed, the new facility will be named the Vernon Allan First State Bank Tumbling Pavilion. Allan, a longtime business leader in the community, was on the Carpenter Center Board for several years.

The new tumbling building will be attached to the north end of the Carpenter Center with a connecting doorway. The current playground will be relocated immediately to the east.

“I’m hoping to be in the new facility the first of December,” Nemnich said. “To accommodate 280 kids in tumbling, we’ve had to use the gym five nights a week. We can’t use the gym for anything else, so the new tumbling facility will allow us to open up the gym again to programs like Special Olympics.”

Bobbie Youel, whose polo shirt identifies her as “Head Honcho” of the Carpenter Center Tumblers, said the new facility will the give the program much more space, with room for expansion.

“Right now we have 64 feet of tumbling floor,” she said. “The new building will have 84 feet. We’ll also have a six-foot wide tumble track where the kids can work on their moves.”

Also in the facility will be a foam pit, two in-ground trampolines and the double-mini trampoline, along with room for floor exercise. With a 42x42-foot floor, they plan to incorporate a cheer team.

“When I started the program three years ago, the program had about 60 or 70 kids,” Youel said. “Now we’re well over 280.”

The Carpenter Center Tumblers program starts with a “mom and me” class starting with kids 18 months old and goes through high school for both boys and girls.

With funding secured for the building, the next step is to raise funds for new equipment. Parents will help with that campaign, raising about $325 each. Youel said she hopes to have it wrapped up by the end of September. “It’s a good thing we’re able to get this done soon because there aren’t many opportunities like this in the local area,” she said.

Youel has about five coaches on staff and they’ve turned in some great results. Tumblers have appeared in national competition for the past two years. Three or four of them have been on the awards podium and one was a national champion.

Kids come from around the area to participate. The program has already opened a second facility in Kimball, with about 70 kids.

“I’m really pleased the Carpenter Center got the funding together to do this project,” said Terrytown Mayor Kent Greenwalt. “It’s going to be a wonderful addition for both the center and for Terrytown.”
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