Alex and Mary Elizabeth Vardaman are set to open Top Flight Gymnastics, Cheerleading and Dance within four to five weeks. The facility will offer spring floors, in-ground foam pits, vaults, beams, an in-ground trampoline and a fully-equipped dance studio. | Austin Nelson

Archived Story

Preparing to take flight

Published 11:48am Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New gymnastic location to open on Cherokee Road

A new tenant will soon tumble into the former Food Fair building.

The formerly vacant building next to Fred’s Pharmacy will be home to Top Flight Gymnastics, Che erleading and Dance and is expected to open within four to five weeks.

“It’s been a huge undertaking,” said head coach Alex Vardaman. “We’re building a state of the art gym for gymnastics, dance and cheerleading.”

Top Flight will open in what was formerly Food Fair, boasting a 14,000 square foot facility and offering a variety of equipment and classes. | Submitted

The new location will expand Top Flight from its current 2,000 square-foot temporary location at 325 Franklin Street to 14,000 square feet.

“We saw the need for a caliber gym the city was asking for. We were growing out of the building we were in, so we were led in different direction,” Vardaman said. “To be able to grow, you have to expand.”

Vardaman said he currently has 60 students, some even coming from Auburn to train with Top Flight. He said the expansion is not only a credit to his students but also his coaches.

“The fact that we have such a need really speaks volumes about our coaches,” Vardaman said. “We have only been open since October, but our level 2 team won state. We were new and competing against 25 different teams, so taking state was a big deal.”

Top Flight’s new facility will feature spring floors, in-ground foam pits, an in-ground trampoline, vaults, beams and a fully-equipped dance studio.

The facility will also offer competitive cheerleading, beginning, intermediate and competitive gymnastics and Mommy and Me classes for guardians and children from ages 9-36 months.

Vardaman said the gym will also have a party room for birthday parties.

Kristi Moncrief will be operating the dance studio and will offer hip-hop, ballet, jazz and Zumba classes.

“A lot of gym is dance,” Vardaman said. “Kristi has a degree in dance and has been dancing her entire life, so we’re very excited about her teaching.”

Vardaman said his love of gymnastics began at age 5 in Montgomery.

“I’ve been part of gymnastics ever since,” Vardaman said. “I competed all over the nation, and I’ve been coaching for eight years.”

Vardaman said he hopes to advance the growing interest in gymnastics in the Alexander City community.

“The University of Alabama is number one in the nation in gymnastics,” Vardaman said. “We’d like to send some of our girls there one day.”

To learn more about Top Flight visit the website,, or call 256-794-2604.


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