LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Lakewood Ranch Gymnastics, which opened in the C&H Baseball facility 2 1/2 years ago, is planning to open a $1.8 million, 15,277-square-foot stand-alone facility designed as a two-story gym.
The business has bloomed with 750 students enrolled, and more on a waiting list. Enrollment could grow to 1,000 or more with additional interest fanned by the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, owner Laura Parraga said Friday.
The gym is planned for the corner of Solutions Lane and Internet Place at Lakewood Ranch, near the business' current location in the C&H Baseball building, 10615 Technology Terrace.
Plans for the facility are now working their way through the Manatee County permitting process.
"Scared but excited," said Parraga in describing her feelings as she paused from working with students.
"It will be state-of-the-art and specifically made for gymnastics," she said. And it will double the space now available to the program.
One of the features will be a parent viewing area upstairs.
"It's what the area is demanding," Parraga said of the gym classes.
Aimee Galvin's daughter has been enrolled at Lakewood Ranch Gymnastics for two years.
"She made the team and just completed her second competitive season," Galvin said.
At the time Galvin's child enrolled, there were about 400 students already taking part.
Now, there is a "constant wait list" of parents trying to get their children enrolled, Galvin said.
C&H Baseball has, since 1968, manufactured batting cages, netting, field wall padding and more for major league sports. Formerly located near Flowers Bakery, the company moved into its Lakewood Ranch location in 2011.
The company was originally C&H Welding & Metals, and morphed over the years into a company known for supplying big-time sports with equipment of the trade.
Parraga has been involved with gymnastics since she was 3, and is a nationally accredited gymnastics judge. She has been coaching and judging since 1992.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter@jajones1.