Donors step up with exercise equipment

GETTING WARMED UP — Students are seen during physical education class on some of the exercise equipment that has been donated to Fairmont Elementary School.

FAIRMONT — Physical education teacher Derek Spear has been teaching in the Fairmont school district for nearly 25 years, introducing activities to his students over that time. This year, he found something new that’s fun and beneficial for them.

Spear wanted to get a few different pieces of exercise equipment to put in the gym at Fairmont Elementary School so students would have a variety of things to choose from.

“It’s just another way to have kids get more exercise,” he said.

He brought the idea to administrators, who were for it, but the issue of fitting it into the budget was a concern.

It was decided to post on the district Facebook page, asking for donations. The district quickly got several responses and now has nine machines, including some treadmills, exercise bikes and ellipticals.

“People are happy to get rid of it,” Spear said of the donated equipment.

The equipment is used every day at the beginning of class for warm-up, and they are popular whenever students have free time during P.E. class.

“I don’t have enough,” Spear noted. “If the whole class could go up there for warm up, they would.”

The equipment is on the stage in the gym. Spear believes it is a great use of the space. He figured out how to safely connect everything to outlets and reported there is room for at least another row of equipment.

“The kids really like it,” said Spear, adding, “I thought [the excitement] would have faded off by now but it hasn’t.”

The safety of students is always the main concern. As Superintendent Joe Brown points out, some people may say there is more of a liability when it comes to children using the exercise equipment, but there are certain risks when it comes to children playing in the gym no matter what.

“We monitor the area more closely,” said Spear, adding that the sixth-grade Safety Patrol watches the younger kids on the equipment in the morning.

“We’d really like some more equipment,” Spear added. “It’s something that the kids use every day.”

Anyone who has equipment they would like to donate may call the school at (507) 238-4234 or email Spear at