Our School-Wide Project: We ran with it!

May 14, 2015

Angie Lechleidner, Librarian, Waterloo Discover Academy

Waterloo Discover Academy began brainstorming ideas for a schoolwide project that would improve our school in 2013.  Students created a list of projects that included recycling (compost, trash to treasure), gardening (plants, flowers & pond), school banner, world showcase and running track.  Teachers and students would discuss all the pros/cons to each project they were interested in and make their final choice by posting a “hot dot” to a voting board placed in the main hallway.  Everyone was very excited to know that our final project choice was a Running Track and that we were ready to start our journey.
Our Running Track project timeline looked like this…

1st Quarter…Project, Location, Size
2nd Quarter…Standards to Incorporate, Topics of Interest, Give it a try…
3rd Quarter…Grade Level Projects..K-Healthy Living
        1st-Healthy Bodies
        2nd/3rd-Active Lifestyles
        4th/5th-Track Materials
4th Quarter…Projects Continue, Target Passes, Fundraising
After looking into the various materials that could be used, it was decided that asphalt would be the best to use.  Asphalt would be the most durable, useable and moderately priced material to use so that even people with physical disabilities in our school and community could utilize the track.  We met with Brooks Construction to go over the area being used for the project, look at measurements and request an estimate.  Once we looked at the cost…we began our fundraising through a student Read-A-Thon and distributing a donation letter/video about the project to various businesses.  We received a very positive response from businesses and community members, we had reached our goal to cover the cost of asphalt paving…we still needed to fund the prep work.  We spoke with Brooks about our fundraising activities and our progress through the school year, they were excited to hear we were close to meeting our goals and wanted to help use complete the running track project.  Brooks reached out to some of their own subcontractors and received several donations on our behalf and Brooks also informed us that the remainder of funding needed to complete the project would be taken on by their company.
On Tuesday, April 28th Brooks Construction broke ground on the track.  Excavation work, paving, back-filling, seeding and cleanup were all done in just over a week.  Students, staff and community members were able to watch the work in progress at various times during the day.  Classrooms went out to observe, journal and ask questions when possible.  This was a very exciting time for everyone involved, including the Brooks crew.  The crew enjoyed answering students questions and seeing the students respond to the ongoing work with the equipment.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for May 22nd during our Wildcat Showcase, student led conferences.  During the ceremony Waterloo students will be presenting donors with thank you plaques, participating in a Walk-A-Thon as a fundraiser and share their pride in a project well done.

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