Gymnastics Revolution Nearing its Relocation Finish Line

Photos © Gymnastics Revolution.

Forced to  close after roof damage from ice and snow back in January, Gymnastics Revolution of Bethel will celebrate its grand re-opening on Tuesday, July 5 from 12-6 p.m., at its new location in Danbury, at 14 Starr Rd., across the street from Sport & Wellness. While Gymnastics Revolution helped their competitive gymnasts train at other studios, all the regular classes have been in limbo since the evacuation. Recently, though, GR offered a series of free classes at Sport & Wellness, to help tide gymnasts over during the wait.

Many Bethel families were crushed back in January when the relentless snow brought down part of the roof Gymnastics Revolution shared with other businesses in the Francis J. Clarke Industrial Park. The damage -- in an unoccupied part of the building -- struck just as owner Brian Bakalar was getting ready to host the winter Team Challenge Tournament, in which hundreds of gymnasts would be participating. The tournament was relocated to Western Connecticut State University.

At first, Bakalar thought it would be a temporary close, while the roof was repaired. Back in early February, he told gymnasts and parents "Very best scenario, I think we might be able to get back to work in a week. However, I'm concerned that it may be substantially longer than that." A few days later, hopes for the best case scenario had been dashed, as he learned that the building was considered unsafe to stay in. "I spent over 30,000 hours in this building over the last 10 years," Bakalar said "and in the past 24 hours, I (with the help of lots of volunteers) emptied the whole building, and put everything into storage."

The next several months were grueling. In an update to their client families back in May, Bakalar's  wife Allyson wrote "Brian has been working tirelessly, day and night, to get Gymnastics Revolution up and running again." Every step had been more time consuming and complex than the family could have imagined. "It took weeks to locate a proper facility, instead of days," she said, and several more weeks to iron out all the details of the lease. To 'fit out' the new building, Allyson explained, they had to brave building codes, costs, and permitting, "which added days, if not weeks to the process." Finally, they were able to apply for a building permit, and were relieved to hear that it would take only 7-10 days to get it. Instead, it took 27. Following that, they had to apply for a certificate of occupancy.

Since securing the new space, workers and volunteers have been gathering to paint walls, set up equipment and re-floor the lobby. Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Bakalar said that he and his staff will miss their home in Bethel, but that the new location is good for the studio. It is more central to several towns, only 1.56 miles from Bethel, and can be reached through uncongested back roads. The grand re-opening will include food, drink, games, inflatables, demonstrations and tours of the new facilities. Summer classes and camps begin on July 6. For returning customers who are owed winter credits, recreational classes are free this summer. Credits can also be applied to camp.

To see the original damage that closed the studio, click "next" furthest to the left.




Follow Bethel HamletHub