DELAVAN — The finishing touches are being put on a new 24-foot-tall climbing wall and the paint is drying in two new fitness areas that will benefit Delavan-Darien High School students and Delavan-Darien community members in the near future.
As part of a $1 million federal Carol M. White Physical Education Program Grant the district received in late 2009, DDHS will soon have more fitness options for students than ever before.
Students are likely to start using the climbing wall, which stretches 40 feet wide and nearly to the top of the school’s west gym, before the end of this school year. In early March, district physical education staff will undergo the training necessary to allow them to supervise and teach students appropriate climbing techniques.
By late March, the high school will be home to new, commercial quality, state-of-the art fitness equipment that will fill a renovated technology classroom. DDHS will receive 10 CYBEX new treadmills, five CYBEX total-body and five CYBEX lower-body “arc trainers”, three CYBEX recumbent bikes, three CYBEX upright exercise bikes.
The school also ordered two Sci-Fit Pro trainers and eight Pro-Elite Spinning bikes that will go into the newly renovated cardio-fitness room.
An adjoining room is also being renovated that will soon be used for group fitness training activities, such as Zumba, pilates, kickboxing, core training and more. That room will be stocked with smaller fitness equipment required for those activities, such as BOSU balance balls, exercise balls and resistance bands.
The existing weight room at DDHS will be updated with new CYBEX-brand strength training equipment, which will replace many of the circuit-training items students and DDHS athletes currently use. According to its website, CYBEX strength training equipment “is a top choice among athletes and teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB, as well as the nation’s top collegiate athletic programs.”
The renovations and acquisition of the equipment and climbing wall are part of the second of three phases of major updates to the school district’s physical fitness programs made possible by the federal grant.
A new fitness curriculum will start in earnest next school year when DDHS begins offering new health and fitness course options, including classes in trends in physical fitness, strength training, team activities, individual activities, adventure/leadership and outdoor pursuits, and healthy lifestyles.
Additional equipment will be acquired in phase three of the grant, which will include the development of a high-ropes course on the high school campus grounds, a cross-country running track around the perimeter of the middle school and high school and outdoor gear such as kayaks and canoes.
As part of the grant, the high school fitness areas will be opened for public use after phase three is complete. The grant will help pay for staff supervision, said Physical Education teacher Deb Ludlow.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Ludlow said. “I know the kids are, too. We’ve had a lot of positive comments about where our health and physical fitness programs are going.”
The Physical Education Program Grant will help all students in the Delavan-Darien School District become “hooked for life” on fitness activities. The goal of the program is to have students make healthy choices and choose fitness activities that can be done for a lifetime. Research also shows that students who are healthy and active have better brain development, which leads to more success with academic work in the classroom.