Club springs into action for our future gymnasts
PETER Dwan is the first to admit that being popular is not all it's cracked up to be.
The Maroochy Beach Gymnastics president said young athletes were waiting up to six months to secure a position in their programs and with the Olympics looming, they could not support the associated boom in registrations.
From humble beginnings 40 years ago, more than 900 active gymnasts now utilise the Wises Rd facilities each week.
Mr Dwan said the sport had experienced one of the highest growths in the country in the past 12 months, and when coupled with population growth on the Sunshine Coast, the club had reached a tipping point and needed to expand.
After 12 months of planning, the club launched its Boost Our Future Building Expansion Campaign on Saturday night.
Mr Dwan said the revelation of the $1.5-million expansion plans was highly anticipated by the club's members and the wider business community.
"We will be essentially doubling our footprint by extending 12 metres to the west and including a mezzanine floor on the southern edge of the building that will cater for a spectator area ," he said.
"It will also include some good facility additions as far as education rooms and staff and manager rooms.
"At the moment our 20 staff are very squashed in a temporary donger office."
The club is working on an application to secure a Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing Get Playing Plus grant of $500,000.
To be eligible, the club needs to raise $200,000 before the end of March.
The remainder of the project funds would be drawn from savings the club had been setting aside for almost a decade.
Maroochy Beach Gymnastics grants officer Jenny Lawson said they had decided to begin the expansion project now as it could be their last opportunity to apply for the larger Get Playing Plus grant, which is part of the Get in the Game initiative.
"As far as we know, this is (the final year of the grant), so we are going for it while we can," she said.
Mr Dwan said once they had the money, they could have their project completed in six to nine months.
"The excitement of the wider community has given us more confidence that we can bring this to fruition," he said.
"While we can't support the 2016 Olympics boost in sign-ons, we have the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games two years away and we will be ready for the boost in numbers we will see then.
"We will also be able to offer our facilities as a pre-games training venue for international teams.
"We already have the world-class equipment they can train on, by then we should also have a lot more space."
If you can help the club reach their fundraising goals, donate at https://asf.org.au/project/boost-our-future/
By the numbers
Floor space: 940sq m
Membership: 900 active gymnasts
Additional 500sq m on ground level
Additional 500sq m mezzanine level
Membership predictions: almost 2000 kids