Physical education receives grant, plans expansion

Jayne Durnin/Staff Writer

After a lengthy application process, the Cedar Falls K-12 physical education department recently became the only district in Iowa to win a competitive grant that will deliver close to $1 million in improvements to health equipment and facilities around the district.

The kindergarten through 12th grade Physical Education staff superintendent Dr. David Stoakes and Assistant Athletic Director Troy Becker got together and came up with a 50-page document to send to the federal government in appeal to this grant.

In the document, the P.E. teachers came up with a three-year plan that includes goals, plans and recommendation letters from people in the community. It took five weeks to finalize the document and for grant writer Kim Byers to write it.

In July, Cedar Falls schools were notified that their grant to the U.S. Department of Education Carol M. White Physical Education Program was approved by the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.

“Over 950 applications were filed from all the states, and we were the only ones from Iowa to get the grant. There were approximately 70 schools awarded,” Becker, the project director, said. “This grant will support changes to every school in our district K-12,” he added.

The three goals of the transformation are fitness and active lifestyles; good nutrition and healthy eating habits; and lifetime fitness.

“Our plan is to collect data every three months to back up the goals,” P.E. teacher Jamie Smith said. “We will be testing heart rates, body mass indexes, rep maxes and to make sure the grant is being put to use, there will be site visits from the federal government.”

The district will be receiving the money over the next three years. In this first year, the amount is $455,288. Next year, it will be $240,480 and the third year, $205,551. The second and third installments can be adjusted to be more if the weight room is successful.

“The plan is to replace all the specialized equipment with two machines that can do all of the lifts and are also handicapped accessible,” Smith said.

The high school will also be receiving 18-23 new machines for cardio workouts, including treadmills, ellipticals and bikes. The grant also provides for new jump ropes and dumbbells.

There will also be some construction expanding the weight room. The plan will build a doorway leading directly to the health room and windows between the two rooms. The health room will also be expanded.

Construction is set to begin during Christmas break and to be done around spring break.

Class of 2014

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