After years in the making, Caledonia Secondary School’s climbing wall is near the peak of completion, with only a few final notches to go before it will be in full use.
“It will be very nice to see it used to its full potential,” said Ben Matthias, the driving force behind the wall, at the wall’s ‘climbing rope’ cutting ceremony on Friday, Nov. 23. “There’s still a lot of work to be done.”
That work includes finishing the wall—the top right corner was not fully finished—and implementing the new school district policy for safe use and maintenance of the wall.
Then, the wall will be made available to any school in the district—pending time and availability of the wall and a climbing wall coordinator.
And Friday marked the first climbing coordinator class, with teachers and support staff from six schools in the district coming out to learn the lay of the wall so that it can be used safely and managed properly.
“We have many teachers who are anxiously awaiting starting climbing clubs and are working on a cross grade level club day where K-12 could share the wall,” he said.
“It’s a way of bringing young kids together with old kids,” he said. “And introduce them to the world of climbing.”
And what about the out-of-school climbing community?
The goal is to eventually open it up for community use.
“There are many factors that need to be addressed,” said Matthias, noting that there is a group of local climbers who have been meeting and brainstorming how to go about its use.
“We had one initial meeting at Caledonia during the initial construction of the wall to give an opportunity for some of the climbers to meet each other, get together as a group, and see how they could work together to make that part happen,” he said. “After all necessary components have been completed, times for usage will be set based on availability of the school facility.”
The wall’s construction was made possible by thousands of dollars donated by community groups and members, and the hard work of volunteers.