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Article updated: 12/15/2012 2:22 PM

Gymnastics academy is heading back to Elgin

By Elena Ferrarin

Midwest Elite Gymnastics Academy is moving back to Elgin, where the business started almost six years ago.

The gymnastics academy, known as MEGA, will move from its current location in the former Circuit City in South Barrington to 410 Airport Road in Elgin. The new location is in the 30-acre River Ridge Business Center, which is part of the Fox River Business Center.

A grand opening is planned for Feb. 1, said Bill Williamson who co-owns the academy with Steve Merena.

The gym -- open seven days a week -- has about 30 instructors and 750 students per year, ranging from toddlers to high schoolers. About 80 are on the competitive team.

Both Williamson and Merena live in Elgin, but the move likely won't be convenient for some students, Williamson said.

"We know for a fact we might lose some students, some recreational students especially," he said. "When we moved to South Barrington we lost 70 percent of students, but over the course of the year we got 50 percent back. We're very good at what we do."

The gymnastics academy opened in Elgin in May 2007, where it stayed until December 2008 when the building's dome collapsed and the owners decided they would not rebuild it, Williamson said. After being out of business for three months, the gym moved in March 2009 to South Barrington.

The South Barrington location was always supposed to be temporary, Williamson said.

"We had an awesome relationship with The Arboretum of South Barrington. They had been looking for tenants for the big box store, we were looking for a better space for gymnastics," he said. "We're actually happy to be coming back to Elgin since that's where we started and we had a great relationship with the city."

Representatives from The Arboretum of South Barrington were not immediately available for comment.

Panasonic had occupied the space at 410 Airport Road for nine years, but moved out Sept. 1 to consolidate operations with its plant in Washington state said Jean Jodoin, who co-owns the River Ridge Business Center with Christoper Barry.

The gym is a great fit for the business park, Jodoin said.

"I think it's fantastic. We have an eclectic group of tenants out there," including a computer school and a church, he said. "There's quite a bit of residential traffic that comes in there."

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