SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. — A playground that sits behind the Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29, Maple Avenue campus near Minserville is empty and in need of a makeover.
"We had to take down our equipment because it was getting rusted, and for safety precautions, we just removed it. The kids still come outside, and they run around, and we have basketball still, and we have one piece of equipment, but definitely not enough for all of our students," said Debra Arnold, director of special education.
Back in January, the school started the playground project to help raise over $150,000 for a new play area focused on student mobility and sensory needs.
Arnold is leading the project.
"Playground isn't just for recess anymore. There's a lot of social-emotional learning that goes on in schools today, and this allows students who need to get some energy out and come outside and maybe release some energy."
The new playground will feature wheelchair-accessible equipment and swings, slides, climbing areas, and a sensory section for students.
The school is also constructing an outdoor educational trail. It will serve as a physical and educational opportunity for students."
"We're going to have a trail area. We're going to have some exercise equipment, as you see, in the parks. We're going to have critter cam so, in their classrooms, they can see what goes on at night with the critters."
School officials say if they raise all the funds soon, they hope to have the trail and playground completed by the start of the 2022 - 2023 school year.
The school is hosting several fundraisers to make the dream a reality.
Monetary donations can be sent to:
Schuylkill Area Community Foundation (or SACF),
216 South Centre Street,
Pottsville, PA 17901