New life comes to a building near CherryVale Mall that has sat empty for more than a decade. 13 News told you back in July the old movie theater is being transformed into a gym and trampoline center. This would be the third location for the Gymnastics Academy of Rockford and though the opening is still three months away a lot of work has already been done.
"What we are going to do with the theaters here because we have three very large theaters with high ceilings is a couple of the theaters are going to be a trampoline park. It's going to be wall to wall trampolines that kids can come in and play," says Jim Aamodt, Gymnastic Academy of Rockford, owner.
The third former screening room will become a more traditional training facility for gymnastics, cheerleading and tumbling classes. Owner Jim Aamodt says just getting people to buy into the idea of taking a movie theater, empty for more than a decade, was a tough sell.
"I was just happening to drive by with the realtor and I said, 'what about the old theater?' 'he said, you don't want it it's terrible, nobody's been in it,'" says Aamodt.
But Jim saw something different. Gymnastics requires lots of floor space and tall ceilings. Even though the inside had to be gutted Jim says its transformation is going even better than he expected.
"The theater itself is such a magnificent structure and it's built so solidly, it's all brick and it's just a great building. You look at it, it looks like a small castle sitting here in the middle of the mall area here and this was perfect with 30 foot ceilings and wide open spaces it allows us to do just about anything," says Aamodt.
The plan is to open the trampoline gym on Thanksgiving weekend.