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School renovates track to help with students' fitness

LAWRENCEVILLE - Six years ago, McKendree Elementary School students decided their playground needed an upgrade.

The school's playground hadn't been renovated since the school opened in 1988, and a poll showed the students wanted to see improvements, said Dana Marsal, a physical education specialist.

On Friday, the school will celebrate the completion of a figure-8 track, constructed in two phases on the field, Marsal said.

"This is something the kids wanted," Marsal said. "The student council voted on it, and teachers concurred this was a need."

The track enhances the school's physical education program and meets the health and fitness needs of the community, Marsal said. Many families visit McKendree after hours to walk on the track.

The renovation, dubbed Project STRIDE (Students Taking Responsibility in Diet and Exercise), was partially paid for by a $5,000 Toolbox for Education grant from Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation, Marsal said. Each track cost about $13,000 to install.

To help cover some of the remaining cost, the school will hold its first Fun Run/Walk on Friday. Students will walk or jog laps when their class visits the track, and those who donate $25 or more will be eligible for prizes, Marsal said.

Parents and community members are invited to join the school in its celebration, which begins at 8:30 a.m.