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School puts running track on its roof

2014-09-02 10:57 China Daily Web Editor: Mo Hong'e
Photo taken on Sept 1, 2014 shows a full view of a newly-built running track on a building roof of the Second Primary School of Chicheng Street in Tiantai county, east China's Zhejiang province.  [Photo: China News Service / Xu Chenxia]

To conserve on land usage, an elementary school in Tiantai, Zhejiang province, built a 200-meter running track on the roof of its school building.

The students of No 2 Elementary School of Tiantai Chicheng district started using the track on Monday. The school has about 1,800 students.

Qiu Tianguo, the school's principal, said the track, on top of a four-story, oval teaching building, provides more than 3,000 square meters of space for students to play and exercise.

Qiu said that the school, with a footprint of 7,210 sq m, doesn't have room for a playground with a running track on the ground.

"The track on the roof perfectly solved the problem. Our students love the new track," he said.

Ruan Hao, chief architect of the teaching building, said that breaking the tradition of a running track on the ground might provide a solution for other schools with limited land.

"Under the circumstances that limited land cannot provide enough space for students to exercise in, we chose to challenge the concept that playgrounds and tracks have to be on the ground," he said.

The design represented China at the 14th Venice Architecture Exhibition this year.

Safety is the key concern with rooftop tracks. For the track in Tiantai, three protective layers will keep students safe. The outer layer is a 1.8-meter-tall, tempered glass wall that students can't climb; the middle layer is a green belt; and the inner layer is a 1.2-meter-tall stainless steel rail.

Qiu said that students using the track are accompanied by teachers, and surveillance cameras around the track will make sure there is no blind spot.

"Safety can surely be guaranteed," he said.

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