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Rosemount Middle School students and staff make use of the school's new stationary bikes before, during and after school.

Students spin to win at RMS

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In the basement of Rosemount Middle School, in a room that once served only as a cluttered storage space for cross country ski equipment, a group of students is using the school's daily Irish Time to get their legs moving.

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Dressed in street clothes, the group pedals in time to an instructor on a flat-screen television. When she pops out of the saddle to sprint, they follow suit. They breathe hard. They break a sweat.

The students are taking advantage of the newest fitness facility at RMS< a collection of 15 stationary bikes added this school year.

The new fitness station has proved popular with students and teachers alike.

The collection of 15 stationary bikes is getting used before school, after school and during the day.

A construction project over the summer to remove asbestos from the room made way for the project. One of the school's phy ed teachers approached principal Mary Thompson to see if there was a better way to use the room.

"One of the phy ed teachers said, 'We're kind of moving toward a wellness (curriculum),'" Thompson said. "We want students to be active when they leave school."

So, once the asbestos was out the room got a fresh coat of paint, a new ceiling and a collection of refurbished spin bikes. There is a television connected to an Apple TV so the stationary cyclists can follow a lesson, or spin their way through a virtual Grand Canyon.

It's a big change from what the room used to be.

"It looks like a brand new room," Thompson said.

The bikes are getting used, too. Phy ed teachers use the bikes as another fitness station along with a weight room and a handful of treadmills and elliptical machines. The school's triathlon club uses the bikes two or three times a week after school, and teachers and other staff members frequently come in before the school day to get a workout. Add in the pool and turn the hallways into a makeshift running track and the school could hold its own miniature triathlon.

The students who were in the room Tuesday morning had other options for their Irish Time period. They chose to sign up for the cycling class.

Thompson and her teachers like the new facility because it introduces students to an activity than can pursue outside of school to stay active.

The school got the refurbished bikes for 2/3 the cost of new equipment.

"It was kind of like a perfect storm," Thompson said. "It was a low-cost project that was affordable for us to do and the benefits way outweigh (the costs) for our students.

"Now we have another teaching station, and it's great."

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