School walking track serves neighborhood

ELKINS – Physical education classes, academic teams, the football team and neighborhood residents are all taking advantage of the new walking track at Elkins Middle School.

Nick Alfred, one of the PE instructors at the school, explained, “It’s getting a lot of use. We bring our PE classes out every day to warm up before going on to another activity.

“Our academic teams are using it two or three times a week. Our football team uses it to warm up before practice. I’ve also seen people from the neighborhood walking in the evening.”

Alfred said it’s been exciting to see the track become a reality.

“The idea of the walking track started out in a conversation and it grew from there,” Alfred said. “Ted Williams, the former athletic director, got on board. Mr. (Rich) Carr, the principal, backed us.

“We got financial help from a number of places. We got grants from West Virginia on the Move, and the Snowshoe Foundation. We used some of our levy money and we used funds from Elkins Middle School. The PTSO (Parent-Teacher-Student Organization) also helped us.”

Alfred explained the PE classes utilize the track at the start of every class.

“We encourage them to do a mile,” he said. “That’s five laps around the track. Kids love to socialize and they can do that and get exercise at the same time. But they may not realize they are doing both. We’ll also use it for our fitness test. They’re required to do a mile on it.

“Residents of the neighborhood are always welcome to use the track,” Alfred said. “I live nearby and I come down and walk sometimes and I’ve seen other people doing the same thing. Its a great way to start a conversation. I’ve seen some people down here walking with their dogs, too.”