A Tulsa gymnastic and dance studio, destroyed by dangerously high winds six years ago has added a storm shelter inside its new gym.
Aim High Academy is a faith-based gymnastic, dance and ninja studio with a goal of bringing those activities to children at an affordable price.
Dozens of gymnasts were inside its old gym in west Tulsa when a storm blew through back in March of 2015. No one at the gym was hurt, but the story caught nationwide attention as firefighters carried the young athletes to safety one by one.
Within a year of the storm, Aim High Academy was gifted a major donation and moved into a new, larger gym near 41st and Sheridan.
Not long after moving into the new space Aim High Academy kicked off a campaign to raise money to add a storm shelter.
Aim High Academy founder and executive director Jennifer Bjornberg said thanks to a challenge grant from the J.E. and L. E. Mabee Foundation and many generous donors the gym was able to start renovations.
Parts of the gym have been under construction for nearly a year, but the "Wind Event Center" is finally complete.
“The nights where we’re under a tornado watch, to be able to have classes, just to be open on those nights and know and have the peace if something were to happen and I’m responsible for all the people that are in the facility we’ve got a safe place for them to go,” said Bjornberg. “This is huge. It definitely gives a lot of peace in your heart,”
Bjornberg said the large storm shelter, built to withstand 150 mph wind, is multipurpose and can be used for birthday parties, meetings and Bible study for the staff.
The upgrades also included adding a new ninja gym space, stadium seating where families can watch their children practice and a more secure front entrance.
“Through this circumstance, God just moved us so much more forward than we ever dreamed of as far as the type of facility that we would have, being in two locations, the number of kids that we're serving. It's one of those deals where.” Said Bjornberg. “He says, ‘I can do more than you can ask or imagine, and this more than I could have ever asked for or imagined and it's just a blessing.
Aim High Academy will roll out the red carpet Thursday night to show off its new space athletes, parents, coaches and for the first time.