Round Lake martial arts academy relocating to new space
To better accommodate social distancing and more students, Round Lake's Dragon Martial Arts Academy plans to move to a larger tenant space inside the Railroad Crossing Shopping Center.
The taekwondo school, which already operates in the center at 653 Railroad Ave., would relocate to a 3,800-square-foot area.
Dragon Martial Arts will be open Monday to Friday 3 to 8 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The class size is 20 to 25 students and each class is 55 minutes. Most students are typically between the ages of 5 and 14, but children and adults at all levels are taught.
Village officials say a special use permit is still required to operate a martial arts school in that zoning district, as it was when Dragon previously moved into the center. The move is expected to be finalized by June.
Owner and instructor Sergio Hernandez believes more space will help bring in more students and make teaching during the pandemic easier. He said around 12 to 15 current students have returned to Dragon and he believes new students will arrive as well.
"I understand how difficult it has been throughout the time of COVID for everyone," Hernandez said. "People can and do still practice with masks on even though it's not always required to do so. I'm hopeful that the situation gets better and grateful to serve the community however I can."
Hernandez has been a martial arts instructor at other schools for nine years, and opened the Dragon studio in 2016. Beyond teaching students self-defense, he said he hopes to teach students respect and discipline to strengthen self-esteem and self-discipline.
Katie Parkhurst, the village's director of economic and community development, said Hernandez's request for a special use permit request will go to the village board on May 17 for final approval.
"Dragon Martial Arts Studio has survived the closure during the pandemic and is now seeing an even greater need to serve children and adults," Parkhurst said. "Helping people get out of their houses and physically active again helps relieve stress and anxiety. The Village is excited to have Dragon Martial Arts moving to a larger tenant space in the village."