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Ready, set, run

New fitness trail is open for business at Cedaroak Park Primary School


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: DAVID SCHELSKE PHOTOGRAPHY - Second-grader Tristan Schelske makes good use of the new fitness track at Cedaroak Park Primary School on Oct. 4.The sun was shining on a crisp autumn morning when the fitness trail at Cedaroak Park Primary School officially opened for business.

Students swarmed the new one-third-mile trail Oct. 4 during the school’s annual fun run, taking to the track in grade-level waves to get some exercise and to raise money for the school’s PTA.

This year, the fun run included a ceremony marking the dedication of the fitness trail, a project more than four years in the making.

“It was a project that people have envisioned for quite a few years, prior to me coming here,” Cedaroak Principal Peter McDougal said. This is his third year at the school. “There was energy and excitement about it.”

The concept was created by former principal Carolyn Miller.

“It was her vision to create a fitness trail and I said that I would help her,” fitness trail coordinator Anne Beltman said. “I was passionate about it as well and wanted to see it come to fruition. ... Last year’s PTA president, Heather Spicer, said, ‘We’re going to make it happen.’”

The PTA organized fundraising events for the fitness trail, including a “paddle raise” in the school’s 2011 auction.

“Last year we decided to make the big push and get it done,” Beltman said. Last year’s fun run brought in enough money to allow the PTA to begin construction.

The total budget for the project was approximately $18,000. The school district pledged to match funds raised by the PTA, up to $10,000. Some money came from specialized funds at the school, and the PTA ended up paying about $7,000.

“We originally were going to do bark dust,” Beltman said. “In the long term, the maintenance would be higher, so we went with crushed gravel.”

The PTA contracted with ProGrass of Wilsonville to do the work. All work was designed to meet district guidelines. A bed of 4 to 6 inches of gravel was prepared and topped with a surface layer of crushed gravel. The district will continue to maintain the grounds surrounding the trail, while the PTA will maintain the trail itself.

Future plans include adding fitness stations and signs. The class that raises the most money through the fun run will earn the right to name the fitness trail. If the PTA raises more than $5,000 above the fundraising goal of $7,300, or approximately $30 per family, it will purchase a sign with the new trail name and give each Cedaroak Park student the chance to add a personal touch to the sign.

Even before its official dedication, the fitness trail was beginning to see heavy use, both from schoolchildren during the day and from families after hours and on the weekends.

“We’ve had lots of positive feedback from parents at soccer,” PTA President Jenny Cook said. “After school hours, it’s available to the community.”

“Our schools throughout the district are places where the community can come enjoy the campus,” McDougal said. “On evenings and weekends, there are often families enjoying the school. The fitness trail gives people a place to walk or run while their kids are at a game or playing on the playground.”

“My kids come home every day and say, ‘I saw so many kids running on it at recess,’” Beltman said.

Although the trail is perfect for that kind of unstructured use, Beltman said the PTA’s vision includes organized activities too. An afterschool group, the Cedaroak Sneakers Club, will take to the trail when the weather cooperates. And Beltman is investigating the Girls on the Run program.

“I think the ability to be outside and get exercise, it’s great for the kids,” Beltman said. “I love the fact that a lot of kids like to be active but aren’t necessarily team oriented. This gives them an opportunity.”

“This is just one of the ways that we can provide something all kids can use. That’s one of our PTA goals,” Cook said.

McDougal said the project was a perfect example of Cedaroak Park’s mission.

“It’s symbolic of the importance of fitness and health and community connection,” he said.

Kate Hoots can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 112.



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