VBSD Trails System
Helping students succeed extends beyond the classroom walls. VBSD, in its mission to create a culture of healthy living, is home to numerous trails and tracks, which encourage students and their families to get moving. These trails offer safe spaces for students and other residents to walk, jog, and exercise year-round.
Over the last several years, VBSD has significantly expanded its trails system using JUA (Joint User Agreement) funding. In 2018, VBSD added new walkways at the King and Central Elementary School campuses and at the Freshman Academy. King’s trail also provides a unique experience with fitness stations, where people can perform upper and lower body strength and endurance. Both the new and existing trails are a 1/4 mile long. King and Central’s measure six-feet wide and Freshman Academy’s spans eight feet across. An asphalt trail is also in place on the Parkview campus.
In 2019, VBSD was awarded additional JUA funding, which allowed for additional upgrades on other campuses. The District coordinated with County leaders to construct a 1/4 mile long trail with five fitness stations on the Tate Elementary campus. VBSD worked with Crawford County Judge Dennis Gilstrap and county maintenance staff to pour an asphalt overlay on the trail. The District also teamed up with leaders from the City of Van Buren for the City Heights and Rena projects. The equipment is designed to help break up your jog and allow users to perform muscular strength and endurance workouts. Butterfield also received a new fitness park this past fall. Students can perform simple strength exercises and resistance training on the outdoor equipment. The park includes 15 fitness stations including a four-way leg press, tai-chi spinners, exercise bikes, ski walkers, and two-way chest press. VBSD partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Van Buren to complete a gym renovation at the youth facility. New floors were installed in the gymnasium, as well as wall pads at each end of the basketball court.
The trails system is an important component of the District’s overall wellness plan, which focuses on student and staff health. Van Buren is designated as a Coordinated School Health (CSH) district by the Arkansas Department of Education. The additional trails will help VBSD further promote the importance of physical activity among its students and staff, a key component of the CSH model. Trails are also open to the community during non-school hours, giving local residents easier access to a place for exercise and recreation.
To date, VBSD has seven trails and fitness areas on its campuses funded by JUA grants totaling nearly $350,000. Funds come from the Arkansas Department of Education through Tobacco Excise Tax appropriations and require that applicants partner with a non-profit organization to facilitate the projects. VBSD has coordinated with the City of Van Buren, Crawford County, and the Boys & Girls Club of Van Buren for its trails and equipment installations.