Large new ArtSports facility to open in Holland Park

       The Westside will soon be home to one of the biggest indoor training facilities in the region.
       ArtSports owners Mike and Christin Zapp, who have rented space for eight years on Northpark Drive near Gar-den of the Gods Road, are erecting a $2.4-million, 26,000-square-foot buil-ding on Vondelpark Drive (across the street from Champions Golf). The structure, being built by T-Bone Construction, should be open by mid-Sep-tember, according to Mike Zapp.
       The new Art-Sports will be nearly twice as big as the current one. This will allow enrollment to triple - much needed at a time when about half the classes have waiting lists, he said.
       The business trains several athletic disciplines at different skill levels, including artistic gymnastics, trampoline, power tumbling, circus art and three types of dance.
       The new building and its customizations reflect the Zapps' experience - Mike's in the sports realm and Christin's in that of dance.
       “This building is a culmination of over 30 years coaching,” he said. “I've stolen ideas from all the places I've been.”
       To find customizing examples, one needs go no further than the building's dimensions. At the Northpark building, the ceiling is 32 feet above the trampolines (2 feet higher than required), but some of Zapp's students can still jump high enough to touch the ceiling, “which kind of irks me,” he noted with a grin. So the new building's ceiling will be 36 feet above the trampolines.
       As for the longer side of the rectangular building, the 185-foot length is just right for an elite-level tumbling run, Zapp pointed out.
       He didn't “steal” one of the building's features. The jumpers' foam pits, which he thinks might be the safest in the world, are partly his own invention. With innertube cushions at the base, the eight-foot-deep pit “is made to go down and fluff out again,” said Zapp, who worked out the design with the safety designer for the Cirque du Soleil troupe.
       Another unique aspect is the building site. Nestling the facility into a little hillside along Vondelpark Drive will heating/cooling efficiencies, he said. The site also allows one entrance to be on the main floor on the west side of the building and another on the second floor (mezzanine) on the east side.
       Other advantages with the Westside location are its accessibility (being close to I-25 and the Holland Park neighborhood) and its beauty (being adjacent to the Douglas Creek Open Space). In addition, during events, some 50 parking spaces will be usable in the Champions Golf lot, roughly doubling the number of spaces ArtSports will have on site, he said.
       A walk through the construction area with Zapp revealed a myriad of other features with the new ArtSports facility:
  • A u-turn-style pick-up and drop-off area where kids can see their parents drive up from a waiting place inside.
  • The “preschool adventure zone” (for ages 9 months to 5 years), which has scaled-down trampolines and foam pits and includes drills to enhance dexterity and hand-eye coordination.
  • Rounded or bull-nosed corners “because kids have a tendency to run into the edges of walls.”
  • Lighting that combines inside and outside illumination in a way that's “easy on the eyes.”
  • A fitness center for adults.
  • An outdoor play area for the kids.
  • Swamp cooling to keep moisture in the air instead of removing it (as with air conditioning).
  • A “floating” dance floor that will be non-slippery and “conducive to leaps.”
  • A closed-circuit security system “so we know everything that is going on everywhere.”
  • A mezzanine that, along with the seats on the main floor, will allow up to 500 people to view events or performances at the new ArtSports.

       Unlike at many gyms, visitors won't have to sit behind glass when viewing training exercises. “Ours will be parent-friendly,” Zapp said. “It doesn't separate them from their kids. They can see and hear what the coaches are saying.”
       Of ArtSports' current 500 or so students, about 95 percent are children up to high school age. Students start as young as 9 months - not for daycare, Mike Zapp stressed, but to begin learning how to use their bodies.

Westside Pioneer article