The need for a second activity space at Hays Middle School is real. Our current gym seems large with plenty of space for physical education classes. However, three classes share the space, which makes teaching and explaining new concepts challenging. Noise levels get very high, making it ineffective for structured lessons while teaching a new game or activity.

Our largest concern is safety of the students. Currently, we have as many as 90 students in the gym at one time. In the past, we’ve had as many as 120, and predictions show our numbers are headed there again. The students are crowded and often running very close to brick walls, bleachers and stairwells. There are some games we simply cannot play because we don’t want students injured.

Another major concern is lack of actual activity time. This space is our largest in the school and is used for class meetings, schoolwide presentations and assemblies. According to the American Heart Association, one in every three children is overweight and doesn’t get enough exercise each week. We want our students moving and active for the 45-minute PE class time, but with the limited gym space, kids have to wait their turn to play and sometimes cannot be in the gym at all. If kids don’t get the recommended amount of exercise, we cannot improve or maintain their health.

A second activity space at Hays Middle School would allow for less down-time and provide space for the safety of each child. Classes would no longer be limited to half of a gym or the hallway during conflicts, and many more games and activities could be played during the full class period. This additional space would provide options and opportunities that are limitless for our students.

Jessica Dale, physical education teacher,

Justin Hejny, physical education teacher,

Bruce Rupp, weights and conditioning teacher,

Hays Middle School