While walking on a trail covered in wood chips behind Clinton High School, Principal Dr. Steven Miller pointed in the distance and expressed a vision he has for the shaded wooded area.
After the Clinton City Schools Board of Education gave school officials the nod to build a cross county trail, a path was cleared by Wilson Clearing & Mulching. Miller said the workers did a beautiful job by clearing a roughly 20-foot pathway. Recently cross country runners used the trail for optional summer workouts.
“You can see it’s good for a running surface,” Miller said.
The course includes a one-mile loop and a smaller two-mile loop. It’s designed to give runners a 5K experience through a looping process. When completed it’ll be a little longer than three miles.
“They’ll see the wooded area twice,” Miller said. “It’s neat to be in this wooded area and it provides a really interesting environment and it will be wonderful when it’s done.”
Miller continued, saying it’s a neat course because so many of the high school courses in the coastal planes area are flat.
“They have nothing of interest and no elevation changes,” he said. “Many high school complexes are just built out in the middle of fields. This will add a really nice dimension becuase it’s wooded and shaded.”
In addition, there’s also opportunities for outdoor classrooms and a walking trail for students. It also provides safety and security for athletes, who no longer have to jog along streets.
“It’s a safer environment than out to the edges of the campus,” he said.
Upcoming project work will consist of putting up signs and building bridges. The school recently received $5,000 from the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant for the construction of strength building stations, and to build over the cross country trail’s marshy crossings.
“It gives you the opportunity to turn this into something more than just a cross country course for the high school athletics,” Miller said.
By the time the project is completed and the vision is complete, Miller estimates that $50,000 would have been spent on the trail, based on adding more components and upkeep. Since the trail is on school property, it will come with restrictions for the public. But it’s possible for groups to rent the course for events or 5K races.
Miller said Clinton High School is scheduled to host a home meet in October. He hopes the first phase of the project is finished before school begins, which will allow students to run on the course.
“We will continue to improve it as we move on throughout the years,” the principal said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.