Panther’s Gymnastics New Addition
On Monday, November 23, 2015, I visited Panther’s Gym Club at 1016 Marion Street. I met with Robert Persechino and Helene Desmarais, Head Coaches and Margaret Gobert, Office Administrator. Since I had been there on 3 other occasions during construction, and was aware of the layout, Robert allowed me to go on my own tour and take photos. The facility now boasts a 15,000 plus sq. ft. area from the original 12,000 sq. feet. This extension was built mainly to house gymnastics/trampoline, but it also features a multi-purpose room which already has been used for judging clinics, coaches’ clinics, and meetings. In the very near future a portion of this facility will be rented out to a physiotherapist or a massage therapist.
Panthers did not require the use of an architect as Head Coach, Robert Persechino did the conceptual design using Google sketch. Then the Board of Directors approved his project. Panthers acquired an engineer/construction firm which bid on the project. During construction Robert remained involved in making sure the plan was followed. There were many small changes and revisions due to physical and budget constraints.
Club membership played a huge role in keeping costs down by helping with the small stuff, such as moving equipment, empting pits, etc.. Kathleen Leipsic was a driving force in making this project happen. She believed in Robert’s vision and worked hard in making others believers too!
From the beginning, Panthers never received any initial funding. However currently they are in the process of securing through fundraising, enough money to get a new roof on the older part of the building and to get a paved parking lot. Recently they have also been successful in being accepted for a federal government grant. They have put in a bid to get a provincial grant as well and are working with Manitoba Hydro to get some green incentive support. All very promising for now, but they need to pay everything off first before they are handed any money… “So a bit stressful, but everyone is working hard to make this a successful venture.”
Presently Panthers offers Adult Gym, Preschool, Recreational, Pre-competitive, Competitive, and Trampoline and Tumbling. The club has over 850 enrolled members and for the first time ever in their 50 years, they will reach a 1,000 member milestone with spring break and summer camps still to come, which usually brings in around 250 members. Good luck to Panthers, its staff and members in its 50th year as a gymnastics club!