An artist rendering of what the Valley Elementary School adaptive playground may look like in the future. VES will unveil the playground's new swing set during an April 28 ribbon cutting ceremony. (Contributed)
An artist rendering of what the Valley Elementary School adaptive playground may look like in the future. VES will unveil the playground's new swing set during an April 28 ribbon cutting ceremony. (Contributed)

VES opening new adaptive playground

Published 2:22pm Wednesday, April 16, 2014

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Valley Elementary School will celebrate the completion of the first phase of the PTO’s project to build an adaptive playground for the school. On April 28, the school will host a ribbon cutting ceremony unveiling the new adaptive swing set and fence enclosing the play area.

“Our focus was on the swing set and fencing first,” PTO member Beth Bryan said. “Phase one is the biggest for sure, and largest cost wise.”

The new swing set features specially designed swings with “supportive chair backs” and buckles, a swing specifically made for a wheelchair and a mulched safety area under the swing set, Valley Elementary School special education instructor Samantha Bunn said.

“This has been in the works for a while, we’ve been talking about it for a few years,” Bryan said of the adaptive playground project. “We wanted to do something to help Ms. Bunn’s class get outside and get fresh air.”

Due to the high cost of adaptive playground equipment, the PTO divided the project into phases. The PTO created a fund for the adaptive playground earlier in the 2013-2014 school year, and quickly raised nearly $10,000 to build the first phase of the project, the swing set and fence.

“The PTO and staff at VES would like to express sincere thanks to all of the local political and business leaders who rallied around us to make phase one of the adaptive playground happen,” Bryan said.

“Lots of people have put in a lot of time and effort,” Bunn said, noting local boy scout Lowrey Young’s work to build the fence around the playground as part of his Eagle Scout project.

Bryan said the PTO has hopes to add more equipment to the playground, such as a slide and seesaws.

“We might start fundraising for phase two next school year,” said Bryan.

However, Bunn’s students already enjoy their new playground and specialty swings.

“We’ve already gone out there before all of the cosmetic fixes,” said Bunn. “They really enjoy it, they don’t want to get off the swings!”

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