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January 23, 2013 06:06 PM

Baltic Opens New School Fitness Center

baltic, sd

Students in Baltic now don't have to drive to Sioux Falls to workout. The school was able to recently build a new fitness center thanks, in large part, to an anonymous donor.

It's now the first ever in town and school officials hope the new facility will do more than get students into shape. It could be a place for learning healthy habits that could last a lifetime.

Whether it is to bulk up or slim down, teenagers have many reasons to hit the gym.

"It's just been an overall goal of mine to get fit for college," Baltic senior Bill Jonescheit said.

Baltic senior Bill Jonescheit says the new fitness center at the town's high school has helped him push toward his goal. He's lost 25 pounds over the past few months.

"It boosts your self confidence when people say, 'Dude you're looking well,'" Jonescheit said.

Jonescheit is not the only Baltic high schooler improving his health in the three months since the center opened. Life Fitness class teacher Jason Aberson says several of his students have either lost weight or improved their medical conditions.

"They're healthier, stronger, better BMI, better body fat analysis," Aberson said.

Before they had this new fitness facility, students worked out in the space behind the bleachers in the gym.

"It wasn't near as set up as this is, and there was a safety issue too," Aberson said.

Aberson says this new gym will be well worth it because childhood obesity is a hefty issue.

"Hopefully we can set a precedent right now, so they'll take this on to their adult lives and teach their kids as well," Aberson said.

And that's a lesson Jonescheit hopes to bring with him to college later this year.

"The more you stay fit and the earlier you start, the better," Jonescheit said.

The majority of the new gym was paid for through an anonymous donation. Right now only students and school staff can use it but school officials are talking about possibly opening it up to the public.

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