A PLACE TO PLAY: Community helping to make new school playground a reality
How to help
Anyone wanting to pitch in for Saturday’s build at McLouth Elementary can help out by calling the school district at 913-796-2201 this week.
McLouth Elementary School’s new playground will be one that all children can enjoy, school officials say.
And it’s a project to which many in the community are lending a hand.
Residents will come together Saturday for a community build day to assemble the playground east of MES. A swing set that previously stood on the site has been moved to the north to make room for the new playground, which also will have handicapped accessibility features.
“We’ve got a single bay swing set area,” said Mark Dodge, MES principal, “with a belt swing and adaptive swing.”
A belt swing is a standard swing, while the adaptive swing has safety restraints.
Dodge said the playground was designed so that youths of all abilities in preschool through fifth grade could use it.
Cost for materials and a site manager total more than $53,000, said Steve Splichal, USD 342 superintendent.
The McLouth Parent Teacher Organization is contributing $10,000, while the school district will pay between $35,000 and $40,000, Splichal said. The rest, he said, is coming from additional contributions to the project.
“We still have some contributions that have come in,” Splichal said. “There hasn’t been a cutoff point for that, so someone could still at some point make a contribution if they wanted.”
Local contractors donated labor for the playground’s concrete pad and relocation of the swing set.
He said those donations likely saved the district another $12,000.
“It’s a very, very, generous, positive investment that is being made,” Splichal said.
The playground’s entire area will span about 2,700 square feet. The concrete pad where the swing set, jungle gym and main playground apparatus stand will cover nearly 1,000 square feet of that area, Splichal said. Mulch, as well as a rubberized surface, will cover the playground.
“It will be a smooth transition from the hardtop area to the playground surface,” Dodge said.
Discussion about the project started roughly two years ago, Dodge said, but has been in high gear since April.
Students have taken notice of crews working to get the surface established. Splichal said students have been “fixated” on the playground area’s progress.
“The kids have been wound up since the day the ground was broken,” Splichal said. “The guys who have been out there working have had rock star status.”
The playground is expected to be ready for play at the end of the day Saturday.