Vail gymnastics center opens its doors |

Vail gymnastics center opens its doors

Scott N. Miller
Bret Hartman/Vail DailyFormer Vail Town Council member Chuck Ogilby, right, helps a group of young gymnists cut the ribbon for the grand opening of the Vail Gymnastics Center as David Ward, director of Vail Gymnastics for Vail Recreation District, look on in joy Monday in Vail.

VAIL – Doris Elliott hopes her daughter continues to enjoy gymnastics, because there’s a dandy new place to work on her skills.The wraps officially came off Vail’s new gymnastics center Monday, with the new facility opening for classes and recreation. The center will also be open for after-school and during-school recreation for students at Red Sandstone Elementary School, which is right next door.”We’re signed up for classes on Wednesday, so we haven’t seen it yet,” Elliott said. “But we’re very excited.”One of the things that has Elliott thinking ahead for her daughter, now 2, is the prospect of kids being able to participate in programs right after school.”They’ll pick the kids up and take them over,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to that.”So is Kylie Crawford, a third-grader at Red Sandstone.”I really like this,” she said. “I really want to take lessons.”

She’d better get her parents on the phone.”Before we opened, we had 230 registrations, and the phone has been ringing off the hook today,” said David Ward, who runs the gymnastics programs for the Vail Recreation District, which is managing the facility.Other stuff, tooIn addition to gymnastics classes, Ward said there’s space available on the building’s first floor for martial arts, dance and yoga classes. The gymnastics equipment is upstairs, with a foam pit, trampolines, and a spring-cushioned floor.Young gymnasts will love it, of course, but Ward said the new building can also host trampoline classes, as well as “air awareness” classes for skiers and snowboarders.”That gives kids a chance to practice their tricks safely, with a soft place to land,” Ward said.

TeamworkWhile the facility just opened, there were plenty of official gymnastics performed before the building’s groundbreaking last June.The center is the product of a broad partnership between public and private interests. Vail Resorts put in money, as did the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, the Eagle County School District, the Vail Recreation District and town of Vail.”The huge deal about this is the partners that made it happen,” said Vail Town Councilwoman Diana Donovan.But that partnership might not have happened without the vision of former Councilman Chuck Ogilby.”It was Chuck who did it,” Donovan said. “He’s the one who believed in it, and put his time where his mouth was.”

Ogilby, in turn, deflected much of the credit to Rick Sackbauer of the Water and Sanitation District. Sackbauer, Ogilby said, “was on the phone every week to the Town Council about this.”In turn, Sackbauer gave credit to the water district board, which agreed to pay about another $400,000 in its deal to purchase the former town shops west of Lionshead, which is where the old gymnastics center was. That extra payment was the first step toward getting Vail Resorts and the taxpayer-funded partners into the deal.While it seems there’s plenty of credit to go around, Ogilby said the main thing to remember is what was kept in Vail.Ogilby said that in 1999, when the water district proposed buying town land for a new water treatment plant, he and other town officials were concerned about losing facilities.”The fact we were going to lose the gymnastics facility was upsetting,” Ogilby said. Sackbauer shared that worry, and the two got to work on their respective boards, then went to work on Vail Resorts, which also agreed to bring cash to the project.”It’s all about community,” Ogilby said at the facility’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. “It means a lot to keep this thing in Vail.”Vail, Colorado

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