New School Year at Hanawalt Off and Running With New Track

When schools reopen for business on August 22, Hanawalt Elementary will be uniquely equipped to get the new year off and running, thanks to the new track that was laid on the school’s grounds this summer.

In preparation to celebrate the school’s centennial last year the Hanawalt community was surveyed to determine its priorities as the historic school moved into its second century. Given the longstanding emphasis there on educating the whole child, the preexistence of a chapter of Kidstriders more than a hundred members strong, First Lady Michelle Obama’s crusade against childhood obesity and Governor Terry Branstad’s state wellness initiative it came as no surprise that the idea for an on-campus running track emerged as a frontrunner.

Hanawalt families stepped up with donations of time, talents and treasure to get the track from the drawing board into their backyard and Polk County leveraged its constructional clout to get the project bid at an affordable price.

“Sometimes the county can be the last dollar in on a grassroots project like this where the community has done the preliminary design and fundraising work themselves,” said Angela Connolly of the Polk County Board of Supervisors. “Hanawalt can be proud of this track. It’s a great facility for kids.”

Principal Andrew Burg oversaw the rapid progress on the three-lane asphalt oval. Ground wasn’t broken until after school dismissed for the summer in early June and the surface was ready for traffic by the end of July. Figures probably aren’t kept on such things but the pace seemed record-setting. “It will be great to see the kids breaking the track in,” declared Burg. “They have so much natural energy and this will be a great way for them to focus on an area as important as physical wellness.”

If reports start coming from Hanawalt about running in circles this year, just know it’s a good thing.

Think of each lap as a dime of time on the 1/10 of a mile circuit. For every ten run a buck’s worth of fitness is earned. Is there any greater wealth than health?

Photos of the New Hanawalt Track

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