Gymnastics Program Affected By Tulsa Tornado Needs Help Moving

Friday, June 5th 2015, 11:10 pm
By: News On 6

Remember those touching images of girls being rescued by firefighters from a gym that was hit by a tornado in west Tulsa?

Now the gym has a new location and steps are being taken to get things back to normal.

The original gymnastics facility still looks a lot like it did the night of the tornado, a caved in pile of debris, but just up the road a new place for the children to practice their moves is coming to life.

3/25/2015 Related Story: Tornado Destroys Sand Springs Gymnastics Studio

The uneven bars are set up and the mats have arrived at the Glenwood Baptist Church gymnasium; all that's missing now are the children and much of the equipment.

Starting Monday, this will be the new, but temporary, Aim High Gymnasium; and Assistant Program Director, Elizabeth Hollenbaugh, couldn't be more excited.

"I'm just, I'm happy that we finally are gonna be able to be back in the community and our program is gonna stay alive,” Hollenbaugh said.

For a time, she wasn't sure how the academy would get back up and running after the devastating tornado reduced the old gym to rubble.

Now, there's a lot more hope.

"I'm excited. I'm definitely excited to see all the girls and boys again. I'm excited to get back to normal," Hollenbaugh said.

All that could be saved from the damaged building was cleaned and stored at a donated warehouse.

With the new lease signed at the Glenwood gymnasium, it's time to take what's left to its new home, but they are going to need the community's help to do that.

Paper signs mark what stays and what goes from the old gym; much of it is marked to go,

"We are just asking anyone and everyone to meet us at the warehouse with trucks and trailers so that we can get all the equipment packed up from here. We're gonna take it over to Glenwood where we're gonna need lots of men to help us set everything back up," Hollenbaugh said.

Following the storm, nearly half of the more than 200 students had to leave because they couldn't make it out to the other temporary location in Owasso.

While the new place is a long-term, temporary location, it is closer to home and easier for children, parents and coaches to get back to doing what they love.

Hollenbaugh said, "To see some of the kids we haven't seen in two and a half months, it's gonna be emotional."

The goal is to buy land and build a brand new facility, but that's going to take some time.

Until then, the new location is expected to be home for a while.

If you're interested in volunteering to help move, it starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at 4129 South 72nd East Avenue. You can find more information on their Facebook page.