Major indoor training center opens on Westside

       ArtSports in its old location off Northpark Drive was a busy place. But since moving into their new Westside facility, twice the size of the old one, ArtSports owners Mike and Christin Zapp are finding out what “busy” really means. A long-range shot shows the size of the new ArtSports interior.
Courtesy of Mike Zapp
       With the size allowing added classes and scores of new students, “it's pretty incredible,” Mike Zapp said Nov. 14, during the first full week that the $2.4 million, 26,000-square-foot facility has been open. “There are so many classes and people I've never seen before. I just need to go faster.”
       Open from about 9:30 a.m. to midnight, the building is one of the largest indoor training facilities in the region, with Olympic-level trampoline and tumbling equipment, expanded dance offerings, as well as artistic gymnastics (including parallel bars, high bars and rings), training for circus performers and cheerleaders, and body-skill classes geared for toddler-age to adults.
       Zapp said that much of the new clientele is coming from the Holland Park area that surrounds the new ArtSports on Vondelpark Drive (east of Chestnut Street and across from Champions Golf). People from other parts of the Westside and Mountain Shadows are also signing up for classes.
       “I can't believe all the new people,” he said.
       The former location, where ArtSports had been for eight years, was in a mostly industrial area, a mile or more from the nearest homes.
       Built into the new ArtSports are numerous safety and results-oriented customizations that Zapp has invented himself or picked up from other facilities he's seen. One of these is the area called the Preschool Adventure Zone, where youngsters can begin gaining confidence in trampoline and tumbling techniques.
       “Your children don't have to worry,” he said, adding with a laugh, “This is not the way I grew up. Now they can learn without risk. Back then you had to crash five or six times before you learned. A lot of us are surprised we're still alive.”
       For dancers, Christen said there is a “100 percent floating floor” that cushions their feet. A key to the design is the foam blocks glued under the floor. “Now we're seeing this design design in dance magazines,” she said, “but we (Mike and she) made it up.”
       The building's horizontal length allows an Olympic-length 185-foot tumbling run and a vertical height that accommodates the altitudes to which top-level trampolinists soar. Mike Zapp has measured the finished height at 34 feet, 6 inches. Only the top 10 trampolinists in the world "would be scared" of hitting the ceiling at that height, he said.
       In addition to servicing the growing clientele, Zapp is having to follow through with the contractor on finish-up work - for instance, the second-floor artistic gymnastics area is still under construction - and punch-list items here and there throughout the facility.
       That means he has to go just that much faster, but he doesn't mind so much. “I'm pretty excited about this,” he said.

Westside Pioneer article