District may get grant for fitness machines

Published 12:48 am Tuesday, April 8, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- If everything works out, Brandywine School District could soon have access to their own exercise machines worth more than $230,000.
Eugene M. Sweeney, Brandywine's superintendent, said he was recently contacted by officials from the National School and Fitness Foundation, who told him they have chosen Brandywine as one of the school districts the foundation is considering making a donation of exercise equipment.
The foundation each year donates exercise equipment to 20 schools in the country, and have been doing so for the last six to seven years, Sweeney said.
Sweeney said both physical education teachers and principals in the school district has been made aware of the offer.
There are some requirements the school district must meet, however, before the foundation will donate the equipment, he said.
First of all, the school must provide 2,000 square feet of space in one room where the machines would be placed.
The foundation also requires flooring and lighting meets their standards before donating any equipment.
Sweeney said he has already been in contact with architects to seek out a possible location for the exercise machines.
Secondly, the school district must implement a fitness space and physical education program requested by the foundation.
It wouldn't be a power lifting gym, Sweeney said, but a place where people would have access to cardiovascular fitness machines.
If the exercise equipment is donated, the machines would also be available to the community, he said.
In other school board activity Monday evening:
Coloma and Berrien Springs school districts have already implemented this. Students would be selected at random for testing.
The charge per test is $25.
Sweeney said the drug testing could have a positive impact on the student body as well as raising awareness among the students about the consequences of drug abuse. It would also be an effort to help parents see that drug abuse is taking place.
Board members, however, wished to invite someone from schools already doing drug testing to come to a board meeting and talk about their experiences.
The school district is looking into doing major renovations on school district property. Sweeney said it's important to get many people involved and door-to-door home visits to inform the public will start next week.