Holley opens new school fitness room

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 December 2014 at 12:00 am

District wants healthier kids and families

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Brenda Swanger, president of the Holley Board of Education, joins Holley children in trying the new iDANCE fitness game during a grand-opening celebration on Monday for the school’s new fitness center.

The center is in a spot where the library used to be located in the elementary school.
Holley received a federal grant for nearly $800,000 over three years for fitness programs for the community. That grant paid for the equipment, and also will fund a nutritionist to work with the cafeteria staff and health classes.

The grant also is paying to train Holley staff on the equipment and be available from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the center will be open for family fitness nights beginning today.

The center will be open to students after school from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Robert D’Angelo, the district superintendent, watches children try new exercise equipment in the fitness center, which includes four large flat screen televisions. D’Angelo said the televisions will appeal to some of the room’s users.

“By itself some of the equipment would be too boring,” D’Angelo said. “People want the TVs.”

The fitness center includes many exercise bikes with video screens. The screens resemble scenes and terrain, making it appear the users are riding the bikes down a street or a course.

Some of the equipment also has video games, but those games will only work if the exercise equipment is being used. It’s part of a push towards “exergaming.”

“The difference is the technology,” said Lisa Campbell, a Holley physical education teacher. “We’re hoping to win over the kids.”

Campbell helped the district secure the grant. She and other school officials were concerned about student’s obesity rates and body mass indexes.

The district used that data to help secure the grant from the federal government. Campbell said students need to be taught proper nutrition and be encouraged to exercise while young. If they are overweight as children, they are very likely to be that way as adults, she said.

School officials were joined by dignitaries for a ribbon cutting, including from left: Clarendon Town Supervisor Richard Moy, Murray Town Supervisor John Morriss, Murray Highway Superintendent Ed Morgan, State Senator-elect Rob Ortt, Eileen Banker (chief of staff for Assemblyman Steve Hawley), BOE President Brenda Swanger, BOE member Robin Silvis, teacher Lisa Campbell and BOE member Sal DeLuca.