The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and Niagara Cares recently teamed up to give Thomas Dale High School’s fitness facility and urban garden a $75,000... Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, Niagara Cares bring improvements to TDHS
A crew from Niagara Bottling of Chester helped with improvements at Thomas Dale High School last week. (Courtesy photo)

The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and Niagara Cares recently teamed up to give Thomas Dale High School’s fitness facility and urban garden a $75,000 renovation.

Four times a year, the foundation and Niagara Cares collaborate on a two-day community enhancement project to promote a healthy style of living in communities.

The locations are chosen based upon school needs and proximity to the Niagara bottling plants. Thomas Dale was chosen from a variety of schools across the country, and this was the first time the foundation has worked in central Virginia. Volunteers from the Chester Home Depot also helped, giving the project 20 to 25 total volunteers.

The first day was dedicated to renovating the school’s fitness center and urban garden.

Brand-new kettlebells and dumbbells were placed in the fitness center, along with ropes, bikes, rowing machines and supension trainers (TRXs) to help promote cardiovascular workouts. As a finishing touch, the concrete floor was replaced by a new rubber floor.

The urban garden received a total update with new plants, seeds, vegetables, fruit boxes and more. With the helping hands of all the workers, this project was completed in approximately 6 hours on the first day.

The second day included finishing touches being placed on both the garden and fitness facility.

The school’s food supply and food pantry were updated and refurbished as well.

“The local volunteers were some of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever worked with,’’ said Travis Punt, who has been working with the foundation for over eight years now.

Tim Punt, Allison Morimoto and Scott Swinson were the leaders of this particular event. Punt and Swinson travel nationally with the foundation, while Morimoto works in the corporate branch of Niagara Cares.