By Linda Dillman
Fitness in Canal Winchester will take on a new look with 20 fit stations installed on school and city property through a partnership between Canal Winchester Schools and the city of Canal Winchester.
After securing a $74,000 grant from Battelle to provide “Cardio in Canal” fitness stations at Westchester Park, Canal Winchester Middle School and between the Indian Trail and Winchester Trail elementary buildings, the school district is embarking on the district-wide project based learning (PBL) experience.
Locations were determined with the help of high school student groups to involve all school buildings with easy community access. Over the 2019-20 school year students will work, during and after school, on fitness plans for the fit stations that include physical and mental wellness benefits.
“Where this project kind of took off was during a district STEM committee meeting,” said Brigid Krueger, the district’s family engagement/communications liaison. “Members were sharing what was going on in each building and everyone was doing something health/heart related. Then the idea came about to do something district wide. They applied for the grant to get the ball rolling. In looking at our STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) network and working with other school districts, we are not aware of another district engaging in a district-wide PBL.”
City Public Service Director Matt Peoples said the school district is taking the lead on the project and while they had space at other schools, the high school campus was eliminated because it is more constricted.
“They approached us and we suggested Westchester Park as the site,” said Peoples. “Our approved concept plan (for the park) had fitness stations but they were not included in our Natureworks grant application. The city will be providing assistance to install at all locations, and providing mulch and timbers for the Westchester Park site.”
Peoples said the city always partners with the schools anywhere it can.
“This project is a great collaboration to get the stations installed to help with the overall health and wellness of our residents as well as being good stewards of public funds by sharing resources,” said Peoples.
While installation is expected to begin later this year, an official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held in June 2020 for the community.
Krueger said the district is looking for other interested partners with expertise in healthy living and fitness to expand the project’s vision. For more information, contact Cyndi Toledo firstname.lastname@example.org.