The Scotlandville High Hornets will have a refurbished gym floor ready a week after school starts Wednesday, months before the school’s much lauded men’s basketball team takes the court again.
Meanwhile, another Baton Rouge public school, Park Elementary, is one of three elementary schools in the state that will receive $100,000 each in fitness equipment. The other two schools are Valverda Elementary in Maringouin and Luling Elementary in Luling. The equipment is coming thanks to the generosity of a private foundation run by fitness TV entrepreneur Jake Steinfeld, best known for his “Body by Jake” shows and products.
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The defending Division 1 state champion Scotlandville Hornets, which has won or competed for the state title multiple times, spent last season playing on a floor that was buckling.
Ed Jenkins, program manager for CSRS/Tillage Construction, which oversees most public school construction in Baton Rouge, said the gym floor at the north Baton Rouge high school is being replaced and repainted at a cost of about $151,000. He said it won’t be ready in time the first day of the 2017-18 school year, but will be ready a week later.
As part of the repainting, there’s a new logo, a simple “S” for Scotlandville, that is being painted in a new location on the floor, he said.
Jenkins said the work was unavoidable.
“The subfloor was deteriorating, and the base floor was deteriorating and began to cave in,” Jenkins said.
Speaking to the School Board Thursday, East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Warren Drake offered more justification for the work.
“The East Baton Rouge Officials Association said they wouldn’t officiate there anymore,” Drake said.
The new fitness equipment for Park, Valverda and Luling elementary schools is coming from the “DON'T QUIT! Fitness Center” program, an initiative of the Steinfeld-founded National Foundation for the Governor's Fitness Councils. The foundation grew out of work that Steinfeld did starting in 2005 for then California Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggar.
“Our mission is to build the fittest, healthiest kids in the world,” according to the foundation’s website.
Coca Cola is a partner with the foundation, along with Nike, the Anthem Foundation and TuffStuff Fitness Equipment. TuffStuff is supplying the new equipment, which Steinfeld’s organization dubs as “fitness centers.”
In a July 26 memo to the School Board, Pat Friedrich, district grant writer, said Park Elementary will receive “cardio fitness equipment, and a multi-exercise, group circuit training center.”
These are testing times for Park Elementary.
Domoine Rutledge, general counsel for the school system, noted that Park Elementary may be undergoing construction in the near future. He said the new fitness equipment is portable and can be moved if Park is temporarily relocated.