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Climbing wall a feature of the Riverdale high school expansion project
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Riverdale students meet new challenges in the nearly completed expansion on the west end of the high school. It’s a “climbing wall” and it occupies most of the north end of the new structure.

The journey to the top of the wall takes the climber almost to the 20 ft. ceiling. A variety of challenges are offered climbers as they can move both horizontally and vertically. Also, the size of the “rock” that provides the supports for hand and foot holds vary to accommodate students with differing abilities. Slants of the wall and obstacles also present an opportunity to select the difficulty of the climb.

The climbing wall was made possible by the approval of a PETA Grant from the federal government and is incorporated into the multi-purpose structure.

School staff that work with students using the wall had to take special training to be certified to supervise the operation. Safety harnesses and lines support the climbers as they scale the wall.

Jeff Johnson, Riverdale physical education and wellness staffer, says he is considering establishing after-hour times when students and members of the community can take advantage of the equipment. He said that during a recent test run 18 individuals were involved.

In addition to the climbing wall, the new structure offers a gymnasium-size concrete floor that can be used for a variety of activities.

Currently the high school wrestling team uses the facility for practices. High School Principal Jon Schmidt said a batting cage would be installed that can be raised and lowered from the ceiling as needed. The space can also be used for other early spring sports, permitting activities prior to outdoor conditions that permit field practices.

Also in the structure are ground floor and elevated storage spaces. A “training room” is nearly completed.