By MO CRANKER on February 20, 2021.
Alexandra Middle School students will be coming back from their week off to a brand new fitness centre.
School principal Todd Samuelson and athletic director Jaime Hamilton have been working behind the scenes to completely revamp the AMS fitness area. They have purchased locally-made and sold equipment, and hired local artist Christy Vince to bring new life to the fitness room.
“We wanted to create a space here for our students that would meet the needs of a complete beginner or elite student athlete,” said Samuelson. “We recognize the importance of a culture where students are active and well, so we started researching different fitness centres and started working with Medicine Hat High School and Crescent heights High School.
“We also brought in local fitness expert Tom Wilde to help design the space.”
The fitness centre is an upgrade to what the school previously offered its students and is full of weight lifting and cardio equipment.
It features a squat rack, dumbbells, medicine balls, stationary bikes and a large piece of equipment made by Hat High welding students.
AMS will use the fitness centre for regular gym class and is looking at creating a sports performance class for students as well. Sports teams and teachers will also have access to the fitness centre.
“Every kid in the school will have access to this,” said Hamilton. “This is a big step up on what we had before and I think it’s something the school can be really proud of.”
Hamilton says there are countless benefits to having a fitness centre at a school.
“We’re really going to focus on neuromuscular training,” she said. “This is going to decrease the amount of injuries we see in kids from sports and other activities.
“We also think this is huge for mental wellness. Any physical activity you do decreases stress and anxiety, and we want to work on that with kids in a healthy way.
“This will also increase the kids’ cognitive function and their self esteem – we can’t wait to see all these benefits.”
There are typically 480 students at Alexandra Middle School, but this year roughly 70 are studying online.
A large portion of the funding came from the education foundation from Medicine Hat Public Schools.
“We’re so grateful for the $10,000 they gave us,” said Samuelson. “That money made a big difference for us, and this fitness centre is going to make a big difference for our students and staff.”