The Southern Canberra Gymnastics Club (SCGC) was formed on 14 December 1982 by a group of parents who then had children attending a private gymnastics club. The club was formed with some 60 gymnasts and five coaches and was incorporated on 18 April 1983 with classes at Erindale and Stirling colleges and at Wanniassa High School. By then the club membership was just over 200 with a coaching staff of 7, headed by Peter Lloyd and assisted by Rhonda Overall. The coaches included Merryn Brown, who later became the head coach of the club.
The club has now grown to now have some 1,000+ gymnasts, 6 full time coaches and some 64 part-time and casual coaches. In addition to this, the club provides classes in a number of schools within the ACT and the surrounding region.
In the late 80s significant effort was expended by the club to obtain a suitable block of land to build a suitable facility. At that time, the SCGC had formed a joint venture company with the Tuggeranong Judo Club with the aim of developing a multi-purpose facility and to seek funding grants from government. The current site on Block 4 Section 293, Wanniassa, was ultimately selected and provided by the ACT Government and the lease was signed on 1 June 1992.
The initial funding grant application for the building in 1989 was not successful but we were encouraged to submit for the following year. The experience gained from the initial application enabled us to submit a much more comprehensive application which proved successful.
With grants from both the Federal [$75,000] and ACT [$60,000] governments, including a Sports Loan Interest Subsidy Scheme (SLISS) grant [$150,000], loans from the Vikings Group (then Tuggeranong Valley Rugby Union & Amateur Sports Club) and club members and donations from the membership, a contract was signed with John Haskins and Staff on 30 March 1992 to project manage and construct the building. The building architect was Penleigh Boyd with the basic design provided by Dr Les Sharpe, who was the President of Gymnastics ACT and also Canberra City Gymnastics Club.
At the time, the joint venture could not afford the full facility and a staged construction was approved. The initial stage, for some 900 m2 cost $460,000 with an additional $150,000 of equipment. As part of the lease conditions, the club was also required to bitumen the car park on Block 2 [between the club and the car wash] at a cost of some $60,000 in exchange for the Government allowing those car parks to be used in our car park requirement determinations. At long last and with the outstanding support of John Haskins and Staff people, John Grant and Bob Jones in particular the building was completed in September 1992. It was formally opened by Wayne Berry MLA, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Sport on 4 December 1992 Ultimately, the judo club had to withdraw from the joint venture and the SCGC took over the operation on its own to provide a dedicated gymnastics training and competition venue.
The extensions to provide and additional 100 m2 for the warm-up room and office was completed in 2005 and the Stage 3 extensions, to add an extra 250m2, which got underway in April 2010 was completed in August 2010. The building was designed and fabricated by ASI, Brisbane and erected by Wicked Quick Shed Erections Pty Ltd (Greg and Craig Strain). As well as the Stage 3 extensions, we had Greg and Craig also install the wall insulation. The Stage 3 extensions were supported by the ACT Government, Sport & Recreation, in the form of a grant of $114,000. The overall cost was some $300,000.