Capitol Kids holds grand re-opening months after May tornado

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JEFFERSON CITY — The Capitol Kids, a multipurpose gym, reopened its doors on Sunday, nearly 8 months after a tornado hit Jefferson City in May. 

Owner Ron Swanson said he was in the building when the tornado struck. He said there was a feeling of hopelessness when he saw the damage to the building, but the community stepped up to help.

"It's amazing how sometimes things actually come better together after the fact," Swanson said. "This has a lot to do with the community coming in and helping us out."

Swanson said people helped pick up debris and repair damage to the building's walls. 

"We are better than normal now," Swanson said.

One mother described being happy that her child could go back to their "second home." Lena Haill said her son, 10-year-old Kainin Haill, is excited to be back and see all of the improvements made to the facility.

"We have been here so many years, so we were devastated when the tornado came through," Haill said. "To see everybody come together and come back stronger than ever is just such a relief and just a sense of unity."

Long time cheerleader Alyssa Stegeman has been a part of Capitol Kids for 10 years. For Stegeman, she missed having a comfortable place to practice with her team.

"After the second week, I was ready to go back," Stegeman said. "I'm ready to get back in the gym and see my team and my coaches."

Stegeman said she practiced in the gym during the construction process, using mats and temporary walls.

"Whenever it was cold, it was super cold," Stegeman said. "Whenever it was hot, it was super hot."

The open house featured performances from five competitive cheer teams, a competition ninja team, and tumbling and ninja classes. A new preschool area was introduced, completed with a mini warp wall, ninja course and tumbling area.

Capitol Kids features a new dance program as well.