Walk it out: French Creek Elementary School officials psyched for paved trail project to get underway

FRENCH CREEK – One day, the West Virginia Wildlife Center won’t be the only safe place for residents in French Creek and Rock Cave to get their steps in safely.

The grant writing team at French Creek Elementary School has successfully written and received over $10,000 in grants from Weyerhaeuser, and school officials plan to utilize the funds for promoting fitness and healthy lifestyles for FCES students, staff and community members.

French Creek Elementary School Principal Kasey Baisden and fifth-grade teacher Mandi Neely teamed up to write the grant, and they received $3,000 two years ago along with $4,700 this school year, they recently announced.

Those funds will pay for the construction of a paved trail on the hilltop area near FCES that can be used for walking, running, cycling and more. Baisden said everyone is excited to get started on the project.

“We have enough funding to pave a walking/running trail on our hilltop area,” Baisden said. “We also have the funding to purchase 25 scooters, 25 bicycles and 50 helmets. Our next step will be to get a building so we can house the equipment we purchase.”

Baisden said adding the paved track and equipment will help many because the only other place for community members to walk is at the West Virginia Wildlife Center.

“We are excited to be able to offer that safe place here at French Creek Elementary School,” Baisden said. “Our students will be given many opportunities to walk, jog and ride scooters or bicycles during the school day. Staff members are looking forward to using the track to get their steps in.”

French Creek Elementary School is home to 230 students in grades Pre-K through 5th grade. The school has a staff of 34, but Baisden said the FCES family encompasses not just teachers and students, but community members, too.

“Our school is a vital part of our community, and we are excited to be able to have secured the funding so we can offer this for our students, staff and community members,” Baisden said. “We will let everyone know when our project to pave the walking/running track begins and when it is finished.”

“We cannot wait to welcome our entire community to utilize the area for walking and running and developing a healthier lifestyle,” she added.

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