GVC fund-raiser "on track"

Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba

By Melanie (Grade 12)

Students at Garden Valley Collegiate in Winkler, Manitoba will be running in circles next spring.

The construction of a new track facility on the west side of the school began in October. Progress with the project has gone very quickly, according to Harv Giesbrecht, teacher at GVC and adviser to the Student Council which has helped to raise funds for the track.

The $240,000 project will be an all-weather facility with a paved asphalt surface. It will feature a regulation, eight-lane, 400-meter oval track and an eight-lane, 110-meter straightaway for sprinting. There will also be facilities for events such as the triple and long jump, pole vaulting and high jumping. Completion of the project will enable the school to host regional and provincial track meets. Not only will this new facility benefit the school, but it will contribute to the community as well. The businesses in the community, such as the Winkler Inn, and the restaurants will benefit from other schools coming to Winkler for weekend tournaments. The track will also provide an opportunity for the town to attract major athletic events, since it adds to the Collegiate's large gymnasium and the town's aquatic centre and numerous ball diamonds with lights.

"The track project started in March with no money and by mid-October, I saw a student running on it," Giesbrecht says. The provincial government, through the Manitoba Sports Federation, has committed a matching $67,000 grant. Two committees have been formed to look after the project. One looks after the construction part of things, and the other looks after the financing. Both committees have representatives from the school, the community, and the school division.

Preliminary cost estimates of $150,000 for the track project were increased after summer soil testing showed that the track site was situated on a former swamp and would require additional site preparation.

Local funds already raised have come from a variety of sources:

- GVC student council - $10,000
- Garden Valley School Division - $25,000
- Town of Winkler - $25,000
- Winkler Elementary School - $2,000
- GVC Alumni - $2,000
- Canada Day Fund-raiser - $1,000

GVC students held a work day on Oct. 17 to raise money for the new track facility. Money was raised with the help of individuals and businesses in the community who sponsored students for an afternoon of work. Students were available for just about any kind of task, such as raking leaves, washing windows and other odd jobs. Unfortunately, the weather did not co-operate, but students braved cold winds and got their jobs done.

In the end, approximately 250 GVC students raised $6, 900 in pledges. One student even went out and got sponsors, did the work outside of school time, and still attended classes on the afternoon of the work day.

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