Correction: Jamie Boyd-Hamilton has been a gymnastics coach for over 30 years.
OKEMOS — Although the COVID-19 pandemic caused Red Cedar Gymnastics to close in 2021 after 22 years in business, the gym’s owner has found a new home at Meridian Mall.
With the new home comes a new name: GymKind Academy.
“I actually looked at the definition of gender and realized how neatly it fit everything we were trying to encompass, whether it was being unique in how we deliver programming or being inclusive,” gym owner Jamie Boyd-Hamilton said while standing. in the future gymnasium on Thursday.
The new gymnasium center will be located between Launch Trampoline Park and JC Penney. About eight trucks loaded with equipment were moved into the space under construction. Boyd-Hamilton hopes to open the center in February.
Meridian Mall General Manager Dan Irvin said the gymnasium adds to the mall’s mixed-use space and adds to the dynamic it is trying to create.
“We are very happy to have them,” he said.
Boyd-Hamilton coached gymnastics for more than 30 years and Red Cedar Gymnastics opened in 1999. The gymnasium had an average of 900 recreational students at one point for 12 years before the pandemic hit, but the financial record of the pandemic caused its location on Grand Oak Drive in South Lansing to close last year.
Boyd-Hamilton was resolved with what was happening, but hundreds and hundreds of people reached out by phone, letters and email, offering help and money to open it in a new location.
Among them was the family who suggested Boyd-Hamilton check out the potential mall space. While there, she sat in the middle of the floor with her notebook and began to write thoughts and questions about the space.
“Well, I said it might work,” she said.
Now she’s excited about the different ways to capitalize on the space and expand into different markets to reach more people. Kids can play at the gym center, a secure “built-in babysitter” while their parents watch a movie or eat out. The center could also offer day camps for children, she said.
The investment to open the mall space is at least a few hundred thousand dollars to build it and secure the lease, Boyd-Hamilton said.
Bathrooms, water fountains and gym equipment still need to be installed. The space will have a new glass entrance and some lighting needs to be removed, she said.
Once complete, there will be different areas set up, one for toddlers through to preschoolers, a recreation area, a competition area, and a designated area for things like “ninja lessons.”
“Everything feeds off of each other,” Boyd-Hamilton said.
She said things are still very uncertain with the pandemic, but she is confident this new gym can thrive. People are ready to find a new path, she believes. The gym is taking safety precautions and some changes may be permanent, such as students using separate chalk buckets.
Some former gymnasts have been able to see the progress of the gymnasium and they are happy to be there, it makes Boyd-Hamilton cry.
“I’m so excited to see them all back,” she said.
People can follow GymKind Academy’s progress on its Facebook and Instagram pages.