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County funds go toward renovated physical fitness space in Sandy middle school

Though much of the new Cedar Ridge Middle School campus was renovated last year before students moved to the Bluff Road location, there are still a few things on the school's wish list.

One is a more functional space for physical education in the former wrestling room when the building served as Sandy High School. With a $50,000 grant from Clackamas County, that wish is now a work in progress.

"Since we renovated, we didn't have enough money to do something with that room," said Julia Monteith, Oregon Trail School District communications director.

With the money the district plans to redo the flooring, painting and ceiling of the room. District staff also have a plan to purchase some individual pieces of exercise equipment, such as pull-up bars, free weights and other aerobic exercise equipment. They also will finally have the space to house stationary bicycles donated to them by Mt. Hood Community College, and hope the space will open up opportunities to have after-school athletics again.

Oregon Trail is one of few districts in the area that still has a middle school sports program.

"This will be really different for the students," Monteith added.

This funding came at an opportune time for the district, as the state has recently considered mandating additional physical education time in schools.

According to Senate Bill 4, which amended ORS 329.496, "K-5 students (are required to) receive physical education 150 minutes per week for the entire school year, and students in grades 6-8 receive 225 minutes per week for the entire school year.

There is a phase-in of the minutes over the years, starting in the 2019-20 school year for K-5, and 2021-22 for grades 6-8.

Every school district is to be in full compliance for K-5 in 2020-21 school year, and for grades 6-8 in the 2022-23 school year."

Besides the need to comply with state mandate, the existing space is just not conducive to the education of 120 students at one time, which it is currently being used to do.

The fitness center grant was awarded through Clackamas County Public Health's new Blueprint for a Healthy Clackamas County Community Grants program.

"The program supports community-driven projects that work to implement goals identified in the Blueprint for a Healthy Clackamas County report," the county said in a statement in late November. Those interested can view the report online at www.clackamas.us/publichealth/blueprint.

The Cedar Ridge Fitness Center is projected to open in September 2019.

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