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Monday, Aug 11, 2014

Trampoline park to replace Augusta ice rink

Staff Writer
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Latest by Gage Creed 10 weeks 3 days ago

 

A trampoline park is bouncing into the Augusta Ice Sports Center after the ice rink closes later this month.

AirStrike Trampoline Park is expected to open in December, replacing the area’s only public ice rink at 1249 Augusta West Parkway.
The center will close to the public Aug. 24.

“We’ve never built one in an ice rink before, but it ended up being perfect,” said Case Lawrence, the developer of the indoor facility. “We’ve got great ceiling heights, a clear arena and rink field. We’ve got a lot of great stuff to work
with, so it’s going to be a big park, probably as big as we have in the country.”

Remodeling is expected to begin in September. The space will be transformed into 15,000 square feet of trampolines, including a flying trapeze, a dodgeball arena, basketball hoops, a “Ninja Warrior” obstacle course and professional slacklines, which resemble tightropes. There will be a higher-level viewing area for observers.

Lawrence expects to invest about $1.5 million in trampolines and equipment, excluding the cost of buying the 35,000-square-foot building.

The trampoline park will employ three or four full-time workers and about 35 part-time staff members, Lawrence said.

Hourly admission for anyone older then 6 will cost $12, and special events featuring a live DJ and laser lights will be held on weekend nights. Other programs will include trampoline aerobic classes and dodgeball tournaments.

“To get young people out of their rooms playing video games, you have to give them a fairly unique and extreme physical experience,” Law­rence said. “That’s kind of where we fall in. The other thing is it just duck-tailed so well with social media. Young people want to have a place to go have fun socially and be able to have a high-visual component that they can take pictures of and post. That’s been another big fit for this generation.”

Lawrence opened his first trampoline sports center in Fresno, Calif., in 2010. The business has expanded to 15 facilities across the country, with nine more in the works. Lawrence recently took his concept international, opening a location in Hong Kong in July.

Lawrence has similar facilities in Co­lumbia and Greenville, S.C.; Char­lotte, N.C.; Huntsville, Ala.; and Chat­tanooga, Tenn.

“Our target is secondary Southeast markets,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of success with those markets and find that a lot of times, those markets are lacking in recreation opportunity … and that we found this really unique building opportunity.”

The building sale should be complete in the next few weeks, Lawrence said, and he was given the go-ahead to announce AirStrike by the real estate group he’s working with to build the facility.

The current tenant, Duncan Crerar, who owns Augusta Ice Sports Center, found out in early July that his lease would be terminated if he couldn’t match a $2 million offer to purchase the building in 15 days. Fundraising efforts by outside groups and on a crowdfunding page were unsuccessful.

Crerar is considering building a multisport complex that will include an ice rink in a different
part of Richmond or Columbia County.

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