Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
  • GMS track has new outdoor exercise area

  • A request for an innovative project for the Geneseo School?District led to an opportunity that will not only benefit Geneseo students, but the whole community.

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  • A request for an innovative project for the Geneseo School?District led to an opportunity that will not only benefit Geneseo students, but the whole community.
    From that request and an idea, an outdoor exercise area on the walking track behind Geneseo Middle School was developed and installed.
    “Scott Kuffel, Geneseo School District superintendent, shot a request if anyone had any innovative ideas and if we had a wish list of ideas that would be good for kids,” said Geneseo Middle School principal Matt DeBaene.
    “The outdoor exercise area was one of the ideas and came from my wife, Kelley, who had the idea after seeing an area like it at Butterworth Park in Moline.”
    DeBaene then went through the process of creating a proposal for the project and presented it to the Geneseo Endowment for Excellence in Education (GEEE) board, who approved the idea and provided a grant to complete the project.
    “We got fortunate to receive a grant,” said DeBaene. “It has been a really neat project because of how many people worked into it. From the funding by GEEE, the physical education department at the middle school helping select the equipment, Randy Bormann and his crew with the installation and Jonathan Moore, who will be doing the landscaping around the area for an Eagle Scout project.”
    Moore, who will be a junior at Geneseo High School in the fall, plans to plant trees on the northwest and east sides of the area for shade and add grass around the pad. He also will be putting mulch down all around the existing trees.
    “GEEE looks for favorable projects for grants that will benefit the students and the community,” said past GEEE board member Barb Fehlman.
    “It is unique because a lot of the community can use this as well,” said GEEE treasurer Roger Eickman.
    The equipment was installed toward the end of May and beginning of June but the planning process began in the fall of 2011.
    The new exercise area features equipment that will give users a whole body workout by working everything from legs to back and stomach to arms, as well as offering cardiovascular options. The machines do not involve any weights, but use a person’s body weight for resistance.
    “It doesn’t take the place of going to the gym, but it does add value to the walking track for students and the community,” said GMS physical education teacher Todd Ehlert. “This was in the plans when the walking track was first built, but never got done. It is something we have to share with the community.”
    “We always like to see community members on our grounds,” said DeBaene. “We have gorgeous grounds and wanted to promote wellness and exercise and benefit the whole community. Not too many schools can boast how many community members are on their grounds. It is a nice thing to be able to do.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Instructions are included for all the equipment and there is no supervision or sign up needed to use the area.
    “It is very easy to use and can be done on your own time,” said DeBaene.
    “Some people can’t afford to get into the gym and this is free,” said Ehlert.
    “GEEE has been great and has done a lot for the school and physical education,” said DeBaene. “I encourage people to come out and take a look at it.”

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