Education Gets Physical Grant Helps School Add Machines, Expands Hours at Fitness Center

Article excerpt

Byline: Harry Hitzeman Daily Herald Staff Writer

Like most two-sport athletes, senior Laura Hahn likes to stay in top shape during the lull between seasons.

Until this year, that proved difficult.

But thanks to a $276,000 federal grant, she and her 2,100-plus classmates in West Chicago's Community High School have a chance to work up a sweat after school on new treadmills, cross-trainers and computerized exercise bikes, even with the help of a personal trainer if needed.

"In winter, between cross country and track, this is the only way to work out because it's too cold outside," said Hahn, 17, who lives in unincorporated DuPage County near West Chicago.

The high school recently added fitness center after-school hours from 3:15 to 6:15 p.m.

Before, students could only work out with their entire sports team or if a teacher or coach supervised.

Dina Klancir, a certified personal trainer at the fitness center, said daily attendance started off with about 22 students, but quickly rose to nearly 40 per day.

And it's not all athletes.

"They're mostly just kids looking to get a bit of extra fitness in their life," Klancir said. "It provides them with a chance to do something after school instead of sitting at home watching TV."

By the end of February, personal trainers will be offering assistance in the weight room, which is primarily occupied by boys.

A battery of new weight machines, cross trainers, and 20 upright bikes should arrive before the end of the year, along with an upgraded sound system.

So far, the girls, who primarily use the fitness center, have enjoyed the changes the most.

"Last year, if you weren't on a team or had a coach (present), you couldn't use it," said Hilary Tennant, a 17-year-old senior from Carol Stream who is in gymnastics, track and cross country. "If you wanted to work out, it was a real hassle. …