UPPER WEST SIDE — Top-of-the-line computers, treadmills and a redesigned play yard greeted local public elementary and middle school students Wednesday as part of improvements at a West 77th Street school complex.
Students at the Anderson School have their first computer room and fitness center, complete with more than a dozen new exercise machines, because of a grant from City Councilwoman Gale Brewer and the help of the school's administration team.
"This is unbelievable," Brewer exclaimed when she toured the new activity rooms Wednesday morning.
The kindergarten through 8th grade school received a $287,000 grant from Brewer to turn two half-classrooms, previously used as administration offices, into the new tech and wellness centers.
"We have several computers in each classroom, but there's something to be said for going to a computer room," said Jodi Hyde, the school's principal.
The room with 20 new iMacs and 16 new MacBook Pro laptops allows for technology instruction in anything from "keyboarding to research skills" for kids of all ages, Hyde noted.
Next door, an array of brand-new fitness equipment has been squeezed into the half-classroom with barely an inch to spare, with three new treadmills, three elliptical machines, two recumbent bikes and eight upright bikes.
The idea behind the new exercise area, which is only available to Anderson middle school students, is "just to get the kids moving" as part of regular school-day instruction, she added.
The exercise room will also come in handy during bad weather, as the school's 14 sports teams can spend time in the room warming up. The after-school program has also incorporated the machines into its curriculum, and faculty and staff can use the room after classes, too, Hyde explained.
"If all schools were like this, you'd have a good DOE," Brewer said.
Outside the building, students from the Anderson School, the Computer School and P.S. 452 — which are all housed within the O'Shea Complex on West 77th Street — scampered across their resurfaced school yard Wednesday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the space.
The updates, which came out of an additional $150,000 grant from Brewer, include a special five-coat surface-protection material that will last for five years, explained Anderson parent and volunteer Jolie Golden, who helped spearhead the project.
New lines delineating a kickball field, soccer field and running track have "re-energized the yard across all ages," she said.
In addition, the updated allowed for a new jungle gym, the painting of the fence along the perimeter and the relocation of a basketball hoop to make the yard safer.
The yard "really need to be resealed because parts of it were coming up," Golden said.
The O'Shea Complex yard is used by the three schools housed there, as well as the Green Flea vintage market every weekend and community events like the Taste of the Upper West Side.