The Tiger Academy of Gymnastics has found a new home.
Program Director Amie Butler said fundraising efforts yielded about $35,000, enough to purchase a 13,500-square-foot building located at 3609 Mojave Ct. and several pieces of equipment. The new facility will open Sept. 3.
“The excitement of sharing a new chapter of Tiger Academy of Gymnastics is overwhelming,” Butler posted on the SAVE Tiger Academy of Gymnastics Facebook page, which has been used to get the word out about relocating the program. “Through this process we have met countless supporters and believers.”
The academy, which was established in 1980, has more than 450 gymnasts enrolled in its program, which includes Adapted Gymnastics, a weekend program that helps children with special needs.
The academy will move out of the Tiger Performance Center on Aug. 31, the date MU asked the program to leave its facilities. The program has been housed at MU for more than 30 years.
MU athletics department officials said in May that the two-year-old, 25,000-square-foot Tiger Performance Center was not meant to house the club. The Golden Girls and Missouri gymnastics team currently use the center.
Butler spearheaded efforts to purchase and get donations for gym items, including vault tables, mats and high beams. Butler posted on Facebook that the Raise the Roof Benefit Auction alone grossed $8,590 and included online bidding for those who couldn’t attend the event.
She said many people have offered money outright to the program or have donated time to help put together the new facility.
Butler’s efforts to raise support through Facebook and gogetfunding.com have attracted attention outside the program. During the summer, a woman in Jefferson City donated a balance beam, and Boone County Family Resources donated a mat.
“We’ll make (the facility) better and better as long as we are in there …, (but) I think we are starting out in a really good place,” Butler said.
Although there are some pieces missing from their old gym, Butler said the new equipment is geared more for kids. For example, the balance beams are not as high as the ones used for collegiate athletes.
“Getting to work from 3 to 8 o’clock is going to be great because we used to (work around) Mizzou gymnasts,” said sophomore Abby Stewart, an employee of the program. “We also don’t have to set up the toddler equipment and put it away now. It will be a lot easier on the staff.”
Butler said that she is still working out details with MU to hold some academy events at the center, including the program for kids on Missouri football home game days.
Butler plans to have another fundraising event at Stadium Grill on Sept. 6. She posted on Facebook that 20 percent of food purchases will go to start funding the purchase of a new trampoline.
“I just want to thank everybody for the amount of support,” Butler said. “Gosh, it just makes me speechless.”