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Gymnastics offerings to expand

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Fritz Bukowski from Lakes Area Recreation (LAR) in Alexandria is beaming with excitement.

Why? Because LAR is set to open a brand new, 15,000-square-foot gymnastics center very soon.

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The new state-of-the-art facility, which will open on January 3, is located in the old Fingerhut building at 1910 Aga Drive - also the former home of Alexandria School District 206 administrative offices.

"It is going to be fantastic," Bukowski said in a phone interview Monday.

About two months ago, he said, members of the LAR board talked about the gymnastics needs for the Alexandria lakes area. He said there were more than 200 kids on a waiting list just to get into an LAR gymnastics class.

"We knew we needed to do something," he said.

After doing some research into available spaces in the area, Bukowski said the board decided on the space at Aga Drive. He noted that Ben Zacher owns the building and that he gave LAR a "very reasonable rate."

The new gymnastics center will not only help fill the need for those wanting to get into a gymnastics program, but Bukowski said the center will be used for Jefferson High School's gymnastics team, as well.

The old gymnastics facility at the current LAR location at 720 Fillmore Street in Alexandria will be converted into a regular gymnasium with hardwood floors and be used for basketball and volleyball.

Bukowski said that underneath the gymnastics equipment that is currently in that location, there are beautiful hardwood floors. He noted that that portion of the building was, at one time, a regular gymnasium.

The new gym space, which Bukowski said was needed in this community, will be available for use starting January 12 or 13. Although he added that the space is "essentially already booked."

With the addition of the new gymnastics center, Bukowski said two niches will be filled - gymnasium space for the community and the gymnastics program can now be taken to a new level.

"It is going to have all the bells and whistles," he said. "We'll be using the old equipment, but we'll be adding some new bars and beams and a preschool room...it's going to be great."

He noted that there is one head coach - Becca Cederberg - and seven part-time coaches. One of the part-timers will head up the preshool gymnastics program, he added.

"This is just going to be awesome for the community," he said.

For more information about LAR classes, visit the LAR website at www.lakesarearecreation.com or call (320) 762-2868.

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