Charlotte Wood Principal Sandra Budde presided over the ribbon-cutting, which featured District Superintendent Steven Enoch, as well as several members of the middle school staff.
Budde said the impetus for the creation of the fitness center came in May 2007, when they realized that while Danville is a very sports-oriented area, not all of the students in the physical education courses were enthusiastic about a course curriculum of all team sports.
"We noticed that when the students were out playing team sports that there was some dead time," Budde said. "Some students were very reluctant to participate in the team sports."
Budde said the health benefits from regular exercise are many, including stress relief, discipline and adopting a healthy lifestyle. It was decided to try to branch out and offer more fitness oriented classes.
At the time that they were coming to this conclusion Gov. Schwarzenegger announced an initiative where middle school physical education departments could receive funding to help create fitness programs.
Charlotte Wood received $36,900 in funding, which it put toward the construction of a fitness center. However, issues cropped up which delayed the completion of the facility until this year.
The main problem was that the site they had selected, a storage room off the gymnasium, could not be cheaply converted into a weight room. Budde said building codes required that the fitness facility have both air conditioning and a second exit, neither of which were in the existing store room.
The solution came when a reconfiguration of the district's technology resources opened up a room just off the school's multi-purpose room, which was already set up with both air conditioning and an alternate exit. Crews were brought in, and it was determined that the work could be done. During the summer the project was completed, which led to Friday's grand opening.
"I wish I'd worn my shorts," joked Superintendent Enoch. "I'd be in there right now."
P.E. teacher Scott Mendelssohn said with the center now open, the challenge will be in working out the curriculum to get the students in there.
"We're trying to incorporate that into our already established curriculum," he said. "We're going to be in there a lot and get as many kids through there as possible."
It won't just benefit students, according to Budde. Plans are for the P.E. teachers to hold an in-service to instruct teachers in the proper use of the fitness equipment so that they can exercise before or after school. She added that future plans call for working out a supervised time for students to use the equipment after school hours as well.