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Fitness track sought for Russell Boulevard Elementary

Thursday, October 9, 2008 | 9:32 p.m. CDT; updated 3:46 p.m. CDT, Saturday, October 11, 2008
Former students Becky Jacob, center, and Ken Harl Pestle, right, recall their time at Russell Elementary School. They were looking at pictures with Carolyn Jacob, Becky Jacob's mother, during the school's 50th anniversary celebration on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008.

COLUMBIA— Students at Russell Boulevard Elementary School could have more options for recess after parents and alumni made contributions for a fitness track. The school's parent teacher association took donations during the school's 50th anniversary celebration on Thursday night. People donated $166 at the event and pledged to send in more later.

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Before the celebration, the PTA lacked about $500 for the track, which has been in the works for the past five years.

Right now, the school has a basketball court, monkey bars and a swing set for third- through fifth-graders. Teachers have noticed students standing around and talking during recess instead of running and playing because Russell Boulevard Elementary has limited playground equipment, said Paula Rubinstein, co-chair of the PTA's fitness committee.

"We'd love to add a space for the children to be able to do more activities during recess," Rubinstein said.

The track will be similar to the MKT Trail, with larger pieces of gravel as the base, and small, thin gravel to make it smooth and flat. The City of Columbia will supply rocks left over from the MKT Trail. Because of its surface, it won't wash with rain and should last for years, Rubinstein said.

Once the goal is reached, the Columbia Public Schools Building Services Department will provide equipment to build the track.

Pizza sales and school carnivals have helped fund some of the fitness track.  The PTA also has set aside money over the last three years to furnish the track.

It is hoped that construction will begin within the next couple of weeks, Rubinstein said.


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