School awarded $100K fitness center

Breckenridge Elementary School will dedicate its new fitness center with a September ceremony. Exercise equipment comes from TuffStuff Fitness International and should arrive later this summer at the school.

Students and staff at Breckenridge Elementary School have something to jump around about.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Jake Steinfeld, chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils, announced this week that they won a $100,000 fitness center through the DON’T QUIT! Campaign. In addition to Breckenridge, Greenway Public School in Coleraine, Minnesota, and E-STEM Middle School in Woodbury, Minnesota, also won.

The fitness centers are pieces of stationary exercise equipment geared toward elementary-age youth. Corinna Erickson, principal of Breckenridge Elementary, said they are excited to receive the equipment.

“It’s basically like putting a Snap Fitness in our school,” said Superintendent Diane Cordes. “There are stationary bikes, elliptical machines, a really cool jungle gym where you can do tons of isometric exercises. We’ll also get some curriculum for the physical education department or any instructor who will use this with the students, so they can emphasize correct technique.”

Erickson and several students recorded themselves for a video (https://youtu.be/YBTy8OH302E/), with the assistance of Miriam Tobola, director of innovation and learning, which was submitted as part of the grant application about why their school is in need of the equipment.

This area can have brutal winters with snow on the ground from 4-6 months of the year and regularly has wind chills below zero, requiring students to stay indoors for their physical activity. The school was built in the 1930s and has limited gym space, which is also in high demand from middle and high school activities. Elementary students often have to resort to running or walking laps around the halls for their exercise during inclement weather.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held in September for the fitness center, which the governor and Steinfeld will be invited to. The equipment comes from TuffStuff Fitness International and should arrive at the school later this summer.

“Healthy living, lifelong health, they’re the key to what this is all about,” Cordes said. “Just the notion that it’s not gender specific – it’s a healthy thing for boys and girls to do.”

“The key thing for us, is that it’s providing that opportunity for these kids, whether it’s before or after school, or if they can’t go outside for recess,” Tobola added. “We see this being used a lot.”

“We want to say how grateful we are to this organization and the sponsors who help put up the money. This is a significant foundation with huge financial backing,” Cordes said. “Anyone who is reaching out and cares about kids, we’re grateful for their partnership. As a community, we celebrate together and look forward to the grand opening in September.”

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