Gymnastics club upgrades in line with growth

With a growing number of athletes, the Terrace B.C. Peaks Gymnastics Club is in the process of expanding its facility.

Terrace Peaks Gymnastics Club is expanding its gym and club director Barclay Macdonald

With a growing number of athletes, the Terrace Peaks Gymnastics Club is expanding its facility with a new office entrance, party room, washrooms and change rooms.

The expansion is phase two of a three-phase plan drafted when the gym was first built in 1991/1992. Club director Barclay Macdonald says prior board members deserve a lot of credit for their planning and fundraising which provided the springboard for the expansion.

The upgrades line up with steady growth in the club, with membership growing every year for the last five years.

Membership was up to 570 members last year, which is an increase of close to 250 people since 2011/2012, when it had 315 members.

It has steadily grown every year, and the club is in the process of recruiting three more coaches to help meet the demands of the club.

Macdonald says one of the key reasons for growth is coach Karl McPherson, who is a well-known, professional coach who moved here from the Lower Mainland in 2015.

“He’s been huge for the club,” said Macdonald, adding that earlier this year he met a handful of McPherson’s prior trainees wearing ‘Canada’ jackets at a big Lower Mainland meet.

Macdonald is eager and expectant for big things at the club in the coming years: “I have no doubt in my mind that if you give the coaches, and specifically Karl, the tools that they need, that you will see national-level, including Olympic, athletes come from the Terrace region,” he said.

“I just hope we can get [Karl] the tools [he needs] to let our potential as a club be reached.”

Caption: Terrace Peaks gym manager Keira Almas with gymnastics coach and program coordinator Karl McPherson, who took the helm of the club in June 2015.

The gym expansion being done now is in line with that growth.

Under construction now, the Ed Fairless gym upgrade is valued at $250,000 and the local community rallied to support the project which is considered fully funded by club director Barclay Macdonald, although not all the grants are yet fully approved. Close to one-fifth of that cost is coming via in-kind donations.

“There’s at least $50,000 of monetized donations, and that’s probably on the light side,” said Macdonald, adding that there’s been amazing support from all the contractors in town.

“You ask for something and the entire community just bends over backwards to make it happen,” said Macdonald. Those donations sliced the cost by roughly $50,000, and the other approximate $200,000 is being paid for through grants, donations and club funds.

Construction, which started mid-February and is to be finished in June, is being done by Terrace companies Beutle Masonry, A&J Roofing and by Dan Aird of Draw Construction, a construction consulting company recently moved to Terrace from the Lower Mainland.

Managing the project, Aird jumped onboard last November shortly after moving here from Coquitlam with his wife and two daughters, one of whom is in gymnastics. His knowledge and connections have boosted the project significantly, improving the design and securing supplier donations to vastly improve the project and make it “exceed all expectations,”  Macdonald said.

The 1,500-square-foot expansion will have a large new office, and a nice open space with sofas, a projector, and a table for birthday parties which the club hosts.

“The idea is that we want to make it a place where people want to hang around,” said Aird.

Previously the party room was a tight, 14-foot by 12-foot space with a table, where people would gather for the club-hosted birthday parties.

There will also be two bathrooms and four change rooms, a significant step up from the prior single bathroom that operated interchangeably as a change room.

The expansion also improves ventilation and accessibility for people with mobility challenges and special needs. It removes the stairs and ladder to provide a straight hallway into the main gym, and the club hopes to run special needs programs in the future.

“This place is going to be awesome,” Macdonald said. “As a club, we are super stoked.”

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