This year voters will have a chance to make a difference in the health and lives of current and future students at Ridgway Secondary School. Issue 3B brings to vote a bond issue to build a new gym and performing arts studio at the school. As a physical educator and public health advocate, I believe the construction of this facility is equally important to the overall health of our community as well as the futures of our young people.
Students currently enrolled in several elective and required courses (including P.E.) are losing 40 hours of class time annually traveling between schools, and the district is bearing gas and bus maintenance costs. This is time they could be actively engaged in physical activity or in music curriculum. After-school sports practices are running late into the night because four teams (middle school, high school, male, and female) must share one small gym (the current elementary school gym). This leaves less time for students’ studies and takes away from their much-needed rest.
The one gym we have is outdated, with low ceilings and poor lighting, and it is almost embarrassing to host regional high school teams at the level of competition at which we aim to participate.
Physical activity has been shown to decrease health risks and improve mental and emotional health in children and adults. Ridgway currently lacks an athletic facility in which adults can engage in activity during the cold winter months. The new gymnasium, weight room, climbing wall, and performing arts studio will be open for use by community members, enabling the creation of groups such as athletic adult leagues.
The cost to you, as a taxpayer, to provide this addition for the students is less than a tank of gas. It’s about the cost of a one-month membership to a gym or club that features similar amenities, such as a gym and weight room: a mere $35.34, or $2.95 a month. This is certainly a small price to pay for such a large health benefit to the overall community, that will last for generations to come.
An important last point to note: A $400,000 grant has been has been approved by the state but is available only if the bond passes this year. The taxpayers will eventually bear the cost of this burden. Wouldn’t you rather pay less now than more money at a later date?
Please support the students and the community of Ouray County by voting yes on Ballot Issue 3B.
– Jessica Kimball, middle school P.E. teacher and coach