A new £2.3 million world-class gymnastics club is finally opening its doors in Rugby after 20 years of planning.
Rugby Gymnastics Club will move into the purpose-built building next to Rugby Borough Football Club by the end of this month.
Situated off Kilsby Lane, on land owned by Rugby Borough Council, Phase 1 of the building’s construction now finished.
The facility, which is 9m in height and has a floor area of 21,000 sq ft, is capable of hosting national competitions thanks to the standard of equipment and the building’s size.
It is a far cry from its current site on Lower Hillmorton Road, which the club had long since outgrown.
Gill McKee, Development Director at Rugby Gymnastics Club, was thrilled that the club was on the cusp of such an important moment in its history.
She said: “For the size of our club and the level of our gymnasts, we needed a superb facility to match our ambitions. We now have over 1,000 members and a very long waiting list, and we’ll now be able to accommodate that demand and grow the club even further.
“We had been based at Lower Hillmorton Road since the club was founded over 40 years ago – the original founders had been inspired to start a club after watching Olga Korbut perform.
“But even 20 years ago the club was hopeful of moving out as the site was just too small. It’s overwhelming that we’re now finally ready to move in - it’s been such a long time in the making.
“We have lots of exciting plans for the future, and we think the move will be the start of a wonderful new chapter for Rugby Gymnastics Club.”
The process of finding a new site, getting enough funds together to lease and build the new facility, and acquiring the right permissions while also coping with the pandemic and the rising costs of materials significantly delayed the move.
While grants from organisations such as Sport England and Rugby Borough Council helped fund the move, local businesses, charities and individuals also stepped in at various points to get the project over the line.
Leamington-based law firm Wright Hassall was also instrumental in advising the club on the many legal processes it had to overcome along the way.
David Slade, partner at Wright Hassall, said: “This has been an incredibly complex move for Rugby Gymnastics Club, with land rights, planning permissions and various other hurdles that the club needed to vault over before getting to this position.”
While the first phase of the project is complete, funding for Phase 2 – a mezzanine with a viewing area, café, and meeting rooms, is not yet there.
Gill added: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Rugby community in helping us get to where we are. The Club is still actively seeking further donations and funding to help us build the very much needed mezzanine level.”
Any companies or individuals wishing to contribute to Phase 2 should contact Gill on [email protected]