Stretching Out

Gymnastics Studio Expands With New Broadway Space

Posted: December 19, 2012

Formerly operating out of the Plains District Community Center in Timberville, North Mountain Gymnastics has found a new home at 103 Hartz Blvd. in Broadway. (Photo by Candace Sipos)

BROADWAY — During a time when many businesses are struggling, North Mountain Gymnastics can finally remove students from its waiting list.

The studio, which operated out of the Plains District Community Center in Timberville since 2009, moved to 103 Hartz Blvd. in Broadway about a month ago.

“We just outgrew the building,” said director Chip Harris of the former location.

Harris served as director of Fairland Sports and Aquatics Complex in Laurel, Md., for years but moved to Timberville to be closer to her daughter, who teaches at James Madison University.

“I couldn’t believe there [weren’t] any gymnastics here,” said Harris, who has been coaching the sport for some 30 years, and judging national competitions for 35.

She’s seen a lot of change: Beams used to be wooden and Olympic tumblers now work on springboards.

“What we did was prehistoric compared to what the kids do today,” she said.

According to Harris, one thing has remained the same: The sport helps to improve children’s concentration, coordination, learning skills and general focus.

“I think [gymnastics is] just a natural act for the kids,” she said. “It is just really good for them.”

Buddie and Katie Ritchie, of Dayton, say gymnastics has had a positive effect on their daughter, Madelynne, 9.

Madelynne is a part of North Mountain’s Beginner II class on Tuesdays.

“It’s helped her tremendously physically,” Katie Ritchie said, adding that it’s improved her motivation and confidence as well. “We’ve noticed a big difference.”

Coach Robbie Christiansen, who’s been working with Harris since the beginning, said the sport helps to clear one’s mind.

North Mountain Gymnastics offers classes Monday through Thursday with about a 4-to-1 student to teacher ratio. Coaches work with children, age 4 to 17, in beginner to advanced classes.

Harris is hoping to start an extra class Wednesday nights and two classes Saturday mornings.

The studio now offers practice on uneven bars, which couldn’t be used at the community center due to its low ceilings and the inability to install floor plates.

Harris also hopes to host a meet in the spring with at least one other gymnastics studio in the area.

For more information, contact Harris at 896-2186 or

Contact Candace Sipos at 574-6275 or

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