Schools are paving the way to better health

The new walking path at Helen Baller Elementary School (above) will complement its goal-setting track program.

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Thanks to the efforts of and contributions from the Camas School District and Parent Teacher Associations, students at Helen Baller Elementary School and Dorothy Fox Elementary School (above) will have access to new paved walking paths starting this fall.

With a focus on wellness and physical activity, two local schools have installed walking paths.

Helen Baller and Dorothy Fox elementary school Parent Teacher Association members spent approximately two years fund-raising for the projects.

The paved walking track at Helen Baller circles the perimeter of the school and ends at the playground. It is one-quarter mile loop.

The track at Dorothy Fox was converted from an existing gravel path to a paved version. It loops around the perimeter of the playground and into the existing play area.

“Having a paved path will increase safety for the kids and the community and allow us to use it year-round,” said Principal Cathy Sork. “It will also be ADA accessible. It has been on our wish list a long time. Our families are thrilled it’s finished.”

It will also help the students safely log laps through the school jogging program.

Sork said the gravel path could not be used year round due to flooding, and several students went home with bumps, bruises and twisted ankles over the years.

Angela Fadlovich, a PTA member who spearheaded the project, agreed.

“The track has been coming up as a project, so we finally said it was a great time to get it done.”

The PTA contributed $20,641 to its construction through Scrip dollars. It is a fund-raising program where charitable rebates are given to schools through common purchases from participating stores, restaurants and service providers.

The Camas School District contributed approximately $19,000 total for the paths at both schools.

“The kids will have a much better chance to be active now,” Fadlovich said. “It will be a great addition for them and the community. On the day we gave the check to the school for the new track, my son came home with a twisted ankle from running on the gravel one.”

Helen Baller Principal Aaron Parman said having the new path will help promote fitness for students and staff.

“We have a track program where kids run laps and set goals, and this will give them somewhere to do that on,” he said. “Lots of kids enjoy running and it will also be used by the community.”

Kathi Hansen, past PTA president, said installing the path has been a goal since the new school was built.

“There wasn’t enough money left to put one in,” she said. “Helen Baller was one of the only schools without a walking path and we thought it would be great to have one.”

The PTA raised money through fun runs and dining fundraisers at local restaurants. The Nutter Foundation contributed $1,000 to the effort, for a total of $17,623.

“There was definitely community involvement,” Hansen said. “What’s great about Helen Baller is that it’s a community track for everyone to use.”