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New fitness area proposed at Century School

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By Anna Erickson

A new fitness area is being proposed outside near Century School.

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Molly Aukes, Century elementary physical education teacher, said the idea came up a few years ago when looking at ways to incorporate family health initiatives into the community.

“We wanted to incorporate some family fitness into our community and into not just our youth but adults also,” she said.

The first idea was to incorporate some stations such as a pull up bar along the trail around Century School.

She shared that idea/vision with Superintendent Lance Bagstad and he shared that with David Collins with the Rotary, Aukes said.

The Park Rapids Rotary Club was looking for a community service project and liked this idea.

“They have helped grow this idea, helped change this idea and it’s become a much bigger vision because of their willingness to get involved,” Aukes said.

Matt Kaufenberg, physical therapist and rehab services manager at St. Joseph’s Area Health Services, has been instrumental in moving the project forward.

The vision is to donate and install multi-use outdoor fitness and exercise equipment within the Park Rapids community.

“We’re looking at a pad with equipment southwest of the school,” she said.

The equipment will include signage and users can hit multiple muscle groups, upper body, lower body, core strength, flexibility, agility and balance.

The mission would be to promote wellness within the community through activity, exercise and family time.

Century School classes could use the equipment.

It is near playground equipment so that if families are there to exercise it could be used by adults while children are playing. Alternately, children could also use the exercise equipment.

Park Rapids Area School District would agree to maintain it and carry the liability insurance.

The Rotary involvement becomes the donor and financing piece of it, along with the promotion of it, and construction assistance, Aukes said.

The proposed cost is around $40,000. Rotary is looking to have a business sponsor a piece of equipment and are also looking at grants.

The equipment would be available to the community when school isn’t in session, which is primarily during the summer months.

During the spring and fall, depending on the weather, classes could use the equipment.

The Rotary Club hasn’t finalized the plans but it will likely be asking the Park Rapids Area School Board for support at a future meeting.

“In the long run it will really help our mission of trying to help people live a healthier lifestyle,” said Superintendent Lance Bagstad.

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Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
(218) 732-3364
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