Prince Edward Community School students will notice their paths are much easier ones to trek these days.
The Prince Edward Community School Advisory Council (PECSAC) was hard at work raising funds to repair the walking trail behind the East Kildonan school, located at 649 Brazier St., as the first step of a three-phase project for school improvement. Planning began approximately three years ago.
PECSAC president Marni McCluskey said the approximately $8,000 to repair the path was a worthwhile investment.
"It was weathered. It was overgrown. In most places, it wasn’t even a track," McCluskey said. "(The north side), when it rained even a little bit, it would be submerged with water."
The trail hosts several active-living clubs at the school, including running and marathon groups.
PECSAC vice-president Jacquie Meilleur knew the improvement was needed when she tried to take part in the marathon club with her daughter.
"It was just very difficult to run on, trying to dodge the holes, dodge the weeds, trying to get around the puddles when it was raining," Meilleur said.
School principal Linda Mauthe said the trail, like several other parts of the school grounds, is a major facet of the community and are well-used even outside of school hours.
"The kids are out here all of the time," Mauthe said, noting nursery school, after-school programs, and community members use the path. "The walking path here is a wonderful thing for enhancement. We’re looking forward to getting some trees up for some shade for families to picnic under."
In order to raise the funds for the track, PECSAC held several events including nine zumba fundraisers, bake sales, an evening at Rumor’s Comedy Club, and selling premium front-row seating at the school’s Christmas concert.
The next phase of school improvement is to put asphalt down at the site of the outdoor curling rink near the school’s parking lots. McCluskey said the move is an environmentally-friendly one.
"It takes so long and we waste so much water," she said. "We’re trying to be environmentally-conscious, so we don’t want to waste time and water."
The third phase will be to build an outdoor classroom along the south side of the school, complete with native shrubs, trees, and grasses. As well, there will be a sharing circle to help enhance students’ understanding of aboriginal culture.
McCluskey hopes to have both phases done by the spring but acknowledged early 2015 is a possibility.