NEW HAVEN — A ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new walking/running track was held Tuesday evening at New Haven Elementary School.
The track, located behind the school, was built with funding from the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation and will benefit the students as well as the community.
The ribbon signifying the official opening of the track was cut by Claflin Foundation President Stephen Littlepage, as well as Mason County Board of Education President Greg Fowler. Littlepage told those attending that the project received the single largest grant amount to date from the foundation of $18,000. He said he was happy to see the track come to fruition and knew the Claflins would be pleased, as well.
Principal Stacy Bissell also spoke during the ceremony, which was attended by members of the local board of education, county school officials and Superintendent of Schools Suzanne Dickens. Students Connor Ingles and Amber Wolfe were the first to run the track, while NHES teachers walked.
Bissell credited Amanda Lieving for writing the grant application. She was assisted by Courtney Weaver, who also secured the assistance of E&R Excavating once the grant was awarded.
The principal said the track will be used by students during school days, and will be open to the public during evenings and weekends. She said there is a possibility that track teams from Wahama High School will use it for practice. The track is regulation length, but is only two and one-half lanes wide, which will prevent its use for meets. The area inside the track is also regulation size, according to Bissell.
The New Haven grant was one of many announced by Littlepage in December 2013, when more than $105,000 was given to projects in the county. Littlepage said the grant fell under two focus areas of the foundation — personal health and wellness, along with education. The track will provide area residents and students a way to learn a healthy lifestyle. Robert and Louise Claflin reportedly wanted their charitable foundation to posthumously help community organizations in the county implement projects that would enhance lives and promote community growth.