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Physical education annex coming soon

Posted 11/08/16 (Tue)

Physical education annex coming soon

By Cecile Wehrman
Contractors have wasted no time since a decision by the Divide County School Board last month to move forward with more building. Work is now under way to add a physical education annex to the Divide County High School gym -- a move Principal Nick Ator is excited about.
“Everyday, I kind of walk through here and poke my nose out this window,” he said, leading the way across the gym floor, to south-facing doors that used to look out on grass.
Now the area is filled with contractors digging footings in preparation for an 82 x 27 foot addition that will house fitness equipment and free weights.
Ator said the addition will facilitate teaching of lifetime fitness skills to students.
“It’s going to benefit them the rest of their lives and keep them  healthy,” said Ator, if students make the fitness skills learned here a part of their adult lifestyle.
Presently, all of the fitness equipment obtained from a grant is crammed in to what used to be the old weight room and all of the free weights are housed in the old bus barn, on the far north edge of the high school complex.
“The weight room is back here in a bus stall, so that fitness addition will make everything safe and more productive,” Ator said.
Consolidating both the fitness equipment and the free weights into one area will provide a better learning environment, not to mention, free up more time for actual physical education.
Right now, students using the free weights have to dress in the locker room, then walk to the far edge of the high school complex and back.
“That cuts into valuable exercise time,” said Ator.
While the new annex will benefit athletes, Ator said it will give all students a chance to learn lifetime fitness skills they will carry into their adult lives.
“We have kids who aren’t in sports,” said Ator. “The biggest thing to me is the benefit it’s going to give to lifelong learners.”
He said that’s important because if students don’t learn fitness skills in school, they’re more likely to lead sedentary lives as adults.
At the same time, “we also have athletes who lift weights and work out.”
Once completed, “This fitness center at Divide County High School will easily be one of the nicest in the state,” he said.
The fitness equipment currently crammed in to the old weight room came to the school as part of a three-year PEP grant to the Northwest Education Consortium, through the U.S. Department of Education.
Once the school board voted last month to move forward with the annex project, ground breaking moved quickly and Ator said the new addition -- which runs almost the length of the current high school gym’s south edge -- could be ready for use before the end of the school year.