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A welcome challenge
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WCMS’s new challenge course can also be fun, as Keagan Thompson and Korbyn Harris demonstrate. Climbing aspects of the course are designed to enhance upper body, core and lower body strength. - photo by Lisa Hobbs
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An important aspect of health and wellness is balance and core strength. As Talon Vinson demonstrates, the WCMS challenge course promotes stability as users move through the obstacles. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

Warren County Middle School has a new challenge, an outdoor obstacle course to test the endurance of students. 

“It’s pretty fun,” said Talon Vinson while climbing on the structure.

When asked if he found the Challenge Course challenging, Talon added, “Yes. It’s definitely challenging.” 

The $150,000 Challenge Course is courtesy of a Project Diabetes Grant from the Tennessee Department of Health. Grants are awarded to community partners with a focus on reducing extra weight and obesity as risk factors for the development of diabetes. 

According to Shannon Railling, Coordinated Health director for the Warren County School System, this course is the first one of its type installed on school grounds in the state. 

“The challenge course is a fun way for middle-school age students to get physical activity and compete since it will include a timing system to complete the course as well as a 40-yard dash. It is a version of a ninja course, or I have heard them compared to an NFL skills course,” said Railling. 

The Challenge Course will be open for community use after school hours. Signage will be placed outlining any restrictions on using the course.

School property can provide a valuable resource for community recreational space with access to walking trails and other amenities. However, use comes with restrictions.

Tennessee law allows school grounds, when not in use for school purposes, to be used for public educational and recreational activities. 

It is the policy of Warren County Board of Education to allow community members to use open use facilities for recreational purposes when such use does not interfere with school programs and activities. 

Open Use Facilities

This policy shall apply to the designed outdoor portions of district facilities and grounds, including tracks and fields, playgrounds and walking trails.

Open Use Hours

and Priority

The district shall be entitled to the exclusive use of all open use facilities for school and school-related educational and recreational activities, including before and after school programs, summer school, and at such other times as open use facilities are being used by the district or its agents.

When not in use by the district, open use facilities shall be made available to community members at no cost for play and exercise as follows: 1) Monday through Friday, between the hours of 3:30 p.m. and dusk and; 2) Saturday, Sunday and school holidays, between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and dusk. For the purposes of this policy these times will be referred to as “open use hours.” 

The following is prohibited and not permitted in open use facilities:

• Smoking or use of any tobacco-related products

• Alcoholic beverages

• Drugs or illegal substances

• Firearms or weapons except where access is protected by law

• Gambling

• Entering closed areas

• Pets except for service animals

• Glass containers

• Motorized vehicles except for wheelchairs

• Vandalism or removal of district property

• Skateboards

• Profane language

• Other use or activity otherwise prohibited by law.

The district shall post signs at each school with open use facilities that shall provide public notice of the open use hours and rules pertaining to open use facilities. 

Only schools without fences have signage.