In March of 2019, while attending the Minnesota State High School League state hockey tournament, Greenway High School athletic director of six years, Dan Mell, received an email concerning a grant opportunity for a fitness center. After the Greenway Raiders concluded their Cinderella run at the state tournament with their second-place finish, Mell applied for the grant.
The grant was being given to three schools in Minnesota through the DON’T QUIT! campaign by the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils. They were looking for schools who demonstrate leadership in promoting health and fitness. For his application, Mell mentioned the recent success of Greenway athletes that include the aforementioned hockey team’s banner year, Geno Uhrbom’s class A state title in cross country, and the division one commitments of hockey players Claire Vekich and Donte Lawson. Mell says that he believes the success of these athletes helped in the process because they have put Greenway on the map.
Despite the recent success of Greenway athletics, Mell knew that it was still a long shot to get the $100,000 grant. Later in the process, he was continuously asked questions regarding the high school’s weight room. He says that he then began to feel optimistic about Greenway’s chances and rightfully so.
On May 14, Governor Tim Walz and the Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Centers, Jake Steinfeld, announced the three schools that were selected through the campaign: E-STEM Middle School in Woodbury, Breckenridge Elementary School in Breckenridge, and Greenway High School of Coleraine.
What happens now? In August, the renovations on the high school’s fitness center are expected to begin. All of the old equipment, which mostly consists of free weights, will be taken out and replaced with new weight lifting machines. Mell states that the move from free weights to machines will make the weight room safer for younger students so the new facility will accommodate the general population of the school much better.
After the renovations are complete, there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony sometime in late September. Mell says that he looks forward to the upgrade for the school and the positive effects it will have on Greenway’s student athletes.