BY TERRY BRIDGE, MINTO EXPRESS SPORTS
HARRISTON – Minto-Clifford Public School is dreaming of a new track, and needs the community’s help to make that dream a reality.
The Harriston school’s council wants to build a 400-metre, five-lane track around the soccer field for the benefit of the schoolchildren and community members. Currently the school has to create a makeshift track for its annual track and field day, and is unable to host the ensuing regional meet.
“Since we don’t have a proper track we go out there, we line the grass on the playground, and unfortunately because of the fact that there’s dips and dives on the field, it’s not all that safe for our runners,” explained Minto-Clifford principal Wilma Shannon. “It takes a lot of work, and of course it’s only a temporary track, so it’s very difficult then to have training going on throughout the year, which would be ideal.”
The school council – consisting of parents and staff members – has currently raised about $7,000 towards the project through meat sale fundraisers and events such as the Spring Fling on June 7.
The lowest quote the school has received from a local contractor to date is $24,000.
Shannon, Minto-Clifford’s principal for the last eight years, and the rest of the school’s staff hope the community will continue contributing funds towards the project as it will benefit them as well.
“We also hope that our community then would be able to take advantage of it. A lot of our kids come here after school for the local soccer clubs and they play soccer, well, the parents would have a chance while they’re at practice to have the chance to use the track as well,” she said.
This is part of an overall goal to be a healthy, active school.
“We would also like to use it just for ongoing fitness and endurance, we want to build their stamina,” Shannon said. “That’s our whole goal of daily, physical activity is to get their lungs and heart a workout so that they would have the opportunity to build their physical stamina and keep fit. So it’s all about looking after the children and helping them be the best they can be.”
The Minto Fire Department has been on board with the project. They presented a $500 cheque on Friday, June 22 for the track fund.
“Because our school participates in the safe escape program, they asked what they could do to help the school, so we asked for donations towards our track fundraiser,” Shannon explained. “Next October, for every child that completes a home escape program they will donate additional money towards our track, so we’re very excited about that. Ongoing support from the Minto Fire Department, it’s really appreciated.”
Most, if not all, of the money has to be raised and plans must be approved by the Upper Grand District School Board before construction could commence, but they are aiming for the summer of 2013.
Shelley Grose will be the school’s principal starting this fall as Shannon, a Drew resident, is transferring to Palmerston Public School.
For more information or to make a donation, contact the school at 519-338-2920 or the school board’s financial office at 519-822-4420 extension 851. The Wellington Learning Foundation on the school board’s website can also be utilized.