New track at Park Ridge school fully funded by community donations
Abby Dietlin leads Jackson Wambach and Grace Wambach around the new track at Roosevelt School in Park Ridge on Aug. 10. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 17, 2012 11:39AM
PARK RIDGE — The Roosevelt School community is welcoming the 2012-13 school year with a brand-new athletic track that is already being tested out by Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 families and neighbors.
The Roosevelt track project, fully funded through donations from Park Ridge families and area businesses, was completed in early-July on schedule and within budget, Principal Kevin Dwyer reported.
“It’s a fifth of a mile, two-lane, asphalt track that everyone in the Park Ridge community is invited to use in the evening, on weekends or even early in the morning,” he said.
Planning for the $90,000 track project began more than two years ago with Roosevelt School’s Parent-Teacher Organization spearheading the fundraising effort, seeking pledges from families and the business community. A “track-a-thon” held in September 2011, which included sponsorships from a number of Park Ridge businesses, helped the PTO secure the remaining funds necessary.
“I think it’s a wonderful accomplishment,” said PTO President Molly Dietlin, who has walked the track with her children. “It’s been exciting to be involved from the start.”
Dwyer noted that a number of people other than students and their families have been taking advantage of the school’s new amenity.
“All walks of life are using that track,” he said. “I’ve seen seniors out there; I’ve seen college students using it; I’ve seen people working in businesses nearby getting an early-morning workout on our track.”
The track also features two “rain gardens” consisting of plants that thrive by absorbing runoff rain water from the track. Though the gardens were planted at the start of what has proven to be a hot and very dry summer, a parent living near the school volunteered to water the rain gardens to keep the plants green, Dwyer said.
“It’s that community spirit that allows us to have a track and to keep special things like the rain gardens in place,” he added.
Dwyer said plans are under way to develop a gardening club, which will allow students to regularly maintain the vegetation.
In the fall Roosevelt will host its first all-school track-a-thon on the new track. Events like the track-a-thon, which celebrates and encourages student fitness, help raise money for the PTO which supports events and special projects within the school.