A Rapid City gymnastics academy hopes to break ground next week on a planned 3,000-square-foot expansion, its owners say.

When finished, Just Jymnastics will have nearly doubled the number of children that its child-care facility can accommodate. Final plans for the half-million-dollar project were approved recently by the city Planning Commission.

From the gym at 3600 Sturgis Road, Fit-N-Fun is operated by the same owners as a separate business that offers preschool, day-care, after-school and summer-camp programs. With the expansion will come the addition of rooms for toddlers and infants and a remodeled kitchen, owner Tracy Ponto said Tuesday.

Ponto said that she and her husband, Alan, who have owned Just Jymnastics since 2001, have for some time been looking to add onto Fit-N-Fun, which opened in 2007.

"We’ve looked at second facilities and even bid out some different options," she said. "So, we just finally decided that instead of renting elsewhere we would add onto our own."

The child-care center currently has capacity for 98 children, director Ryan Zens said Tuesday, and will add slots for 76 more once the expansion is complete. To handle the new enrollees, he said the business plans to hire 14 to 16 additional employees. According to Ponto, 40 employees work out of the building today, including 16 who work solely on child care.

The building measures approximately 16,800 square feet and sits on 2.6 acres of land, according to city documents. Besides adding onto the structure, the documents show plans to reconfigure the parking lot and move the outdoor playground closer to the building.

As its name would indicate, Fit-N-Fun puts an emphasis on physical activity that Ponto and Zens said has been well-received by parents. It is also one of several local child-care services that is approved to accept scholarships from Starting Strong Rapid City, a local fund for preschool age children from low-income households.

Ponto said work on the addition will begin next week with plans to wrap up in December.

“I think just helping more families in the community and offering a higher quality of care is the best thing that will come out of it,” Zens said.

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— Contact Matthew Guerry at matthew.guerry@rapidcityjournal.com

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