Jim Hill school wins new fitness center through national foundation

Andrea Johnson/MDN Jake Steinfeld, chairman of the National Foundation for Governors Fitness Council, is shown with students at Jim Hill Middle School during a ceremony to celebrate the opening of a new donated $100,000 fitness center at the school.

Jim Hill Middle School seventh grader Owen Sundahl said he was looking forward to trying out the jungle gym in the middle school’s brand new $100,000 fitness center. Seventh grader Hatti Reinke said her favorite thing is the elliptical machines. Not every fitness center has an elliptical machine, she said, and this will give students a chance to keep working out and improving.

Jim Hill was one of three elementary or middle schools in the state to win a fitness center from the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils. Other fitness centers were donated to Rolla Public School and Solen Public School.

A school pep rally and ribbon-cutting ceremony were held at Jim Hill on Monday to celebrate.

Jim Hill Principal Mike Arlien said the equipment was installed in the fitness center in mid-September but kids could not use it until Monday. The fitness center is set up in what used to be the school’s bomb shelter.

Arlien compared it to a long-awaited, wrapped Christmas present that kids might look at longingly and have to wait to open.

On Monday, after a speech by Jake Steinfeld, chairman of the National Foundation for Governors Fitness Council, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the kids were let loose to try everything out.

The fitness department at Jim Hill submitted its application for the fitness center last March. More than 100 applications were submitted. Each fitness center is financed through public/private partnerships with different companies. There are now donated fitness centers funded through the program in about 41 states.

Arlien said Jim Hill already had an innovative physical education program but this will enable teachers to incorporate a full body workout for kids into the curriculum. Kids and teachers will be allowed to sign up for workout sessions before and after school, and Arlien said the fitness center might eventually be opened to community members for use.

The donated equipment is intended for use by elementary and middle school-aged students. Students will use the equipment with supervision.

Steinfeld, who is also an actor, fitness personality, entrepreneur and producer, told the kids that the fitness center can make a huge difference in their lives. Steinfeld said he struggled with his weight as a child, and a set of weights he got from his father as a 13-year-old helped him get fit.

He said fitness can help with mental health as well as physical health and that success also carries over into other areas of life, such as academic success.

“It all starts with that one repetition,” said Steinfeld.


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