PTO working to bring special-needs playground to VES
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
Valley Elementary School PTO member Beth Bryan dreams of seeing the school’s special-needs children enjoying an outdoor swing set designed just for them, and is looking to the community to help make it a reality.
“About two years ago, they poured a concrete slab out there and put a rubberized surface on it. They’ve got a few old toys out there, but so far that’s it,” Bryan said of the school’s current outdoor special-needs play area. “Those kids deserve better.”
The PTO is working raise money to install an adaptive playground accessible by students in wheelchairs and with limited mobility. Before purchasing the adaptive play equipment, the PTO is looking to purchase and install a fence and gate to enclose the play area, which is behind the school building.
“Right now, those kids can’t go outside because it’s not fenced in,” Bryan said during a Nov. 12 interview. “Some of the children can have a tendency to run off, and the special needs teacher can’t be everywhere at once.
“Until the fence is installed, the kids have to stay inside,” Bryan added.
Bryan said the PTO is looking to raise a total of about $30,000 to purchase and install the fence and adaptive equipment, but will fund the project in phases as money is donated.
“The most pressing need right now is the fence, just so the kids can go outside,” Bryan said. “We are looking to do the project in phases. It’s a very worthy project.”
The PTO has already received help from donors such as state Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin, R-Indian Springs, who gave the organization a $5,000 grant, and the Alabaster Lowe’s store, which is giving the organization a discount on vinyl fence panels.
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