By Erik Gable
ADRIAN, Mich. —

Students and staff at the Adrian Middle School 5-6 building on Friday inaugurated the school’s new Interactive Gaming Center, which will bring a technological twist to the AMS 5-6 physical education curriculum.

The room is outfitted with eight Nintendo Wii video game consoles, donated by the Adrian Meijer store, that can be used for a variety of programs involving cardiovascular exercise.

“I think that as instructional technology changes, and we keep up with technology in our core classes of math, language arts and science,” AMS 5-6 principal Matt Schwartz said, “it’s important that the exploratory classes like art, music and physical education move into technology too, because it promotes a higher level of participation and activity.”

The idea came from conversations between Boys & Girls Club executive director Dana Pink and Meijer store director Tony Casper about ways the store could help with the project to move the Boys & Girls Club into the AMS 5-6 building.

Pink and Casper started discussing the idea of a Wii fitness room, then approached Schwartz and Superin­tendent Chris Timmis with the proposal.

Each of the eight stations is equipped with a Wii console, controllers and a TV screen. The total value of the equipment is about $10,000, all donated by Meijer.

“Everything in that room they supplied, and it’s just the coolest,” Pink said.

The room will be used both by AMS 5-6 physical education classes and by the Boys & Girls Club.

“Adrian Public Schools will use it during the day for gym and we will use it in the evening, so it will  get a lot of use,” Pink said.

In addition to providing another way for students to get exercise and stay fit, Schwartz said, the gaming center will give kids “an exposure to many different types of sports” — potentially sparking an interest in a sport like tennis or bowling that a student might not otherwise have picked up.

So far, the room is equipped with Wii Sports — which simulates tennis, baseball, bowling, golf and boxing, and is packaged with each new Wii console — and a game called “Just Dance.”

“It’s a lot of cardio activities that kids will be involved in,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz said gym classes won’t use any of the workout programs for the Wii that attempt to guess the user’s level of physical fitness or calculate the user’s body mass index.

“This is to encourage kids,” he said. “Not to make kids have doubts about themselves, but to encourage participation and build self-confidence.”

The room should also help spark an interest in exercise from kids who don’t normally like gym class, Schwartz said.

“That’s our hope,” he said.

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