Originally published May 19, 2022 in the Minot Daily News.
By Andrea Johnson
Jim Hill Middle School in Minot and Rolla Public School are among three schools in the state that will receive fitness equipment valued at $100,000 for use by elementary and middle school students.
“It’s huge, it’s really awesome,” said Rolla elementary principal Kristin Mitchell.
The two schools, along with Solen Public School, were each chosen as recipients of a new fitness center through the Don’t Quit campaign announced by Gov. Doug Burgum and National Foundation for Governors’ Councils Chairman Jake Steinfeld.
Mitchell said children at the school have not been familiar with a fitness center because there hasn’t been a fitness center in Rolla. The school district plans to revamp its current weight room and add equipment that is specially designed for use by children in fourth through the eighth grades. Kids will need to be supervised while they are using the fitness equipment and teachers will receive training in how to use it. Mitchell said one concern the school has had is the prevalence of childhood obesity and the need to encourage kids to get and stay physically fit.
Mitchell said the elementary kids submitted material through its “Bulldogs Don’t Quit” campaign and there has been great excitement from the kids. The equipment will be installed by next fall and there will be a high energy ribbon-cutting ceremony
Sarah Beckedahl, head of the physical education department at Jim Hill Middle School, said the gift will enable Jim Hill to replace its outdated fitness center and add additional fitness stations in what used to be the school’s bomb shelter. Kids in a physical education class will now be able to use the stations all at once instead of taking turns. The fitness center has been designed so that a child can do a full-body workout in 20 to 30 minutes.
“The kids are absolutely pumped,” said Beckedahl.
She said the department submitted its application in March. Other physical education teachers in the department include Mike Anderson, Fred Nelson, Ali Monley, JorDan Lawson, Jonathan Daluge and Leann Mosses.
Jim Hill’s new fitness center will also be installed by next fall.
As of this year, the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils will have gifted fitness centers to schools in 40 states, according to information provided by Burgum’s office.
“We had a tremendous response from schools throughout the great state of North Dakota. None of this would have been possible without the incredible support of Governor Doug Burgum, who helped make this campaign a huge success by putting the health and well-being of North Dakota’s kids first,” Steinfeld said. “These three schools really embodied our mission of building a nation of the fittest, healthiest kids in the world. I’m thrilled to announce that Jim Hill Middle School, Rolla School and Solen School are all being awarded a brand new $100,000 DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center. Congratulations to all, we look forward to visiting these three schools during our ribbon-cutting ceremonies this fall!”
Each fitness center is financed through public/private partnerships with companies including The Coca-Cola Co., Anthem Foundation, Wheels Up and Nike, and does not rely on taxpayer dollars or state funding. My Fitness Store Commercial provides all the fitness equipment. The foundation’s goal is to build a nation of the fittest, healthiest kids in the world.