PTOs helping build playground at Open Door

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 3, 2004

Parent-teacher organizations from throughout the county have made it clear that they care about the future and well-being of all Lawrence County's children.

Representatives from several local schools joined the fund-raising campaign Thursday that will add a fully handicapped-accessible playground at the Open Door School.

The Lawrence County Open Door School, 421 Lorain St., serves children with multiple handicaps from ages 6 to 21 from all communities in Lawrence County.

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The equipment will be accessible for children with all levels of disabilities and it will also be available to all children.

On Thursday,

the Symmes Valley Multi-Level PTO donated $1,000, Dawson-Bryant Elementary PTO donated $570 and Kingsbury Elementary School gave $500. Other schools and organizations have also contributed.

"We didn't even ask for the PTOs to get involved. They approached Principal Jeff Saunders and said they wanted to do something to be involved with the playground fund-raiser," said Sarah Diamond Burroway, coordinator of grants and special projects for the Lawrence County Board of MR/DD.

"I think it is important because it shows that local in Lawrence County recognize that the Board of MR/DD serves children from all the schools."

More than $32,309 has been contributed to the playground project so far. An additional $4,000 has been committed but not yet received.

Donations have ranged from $25 to $12,700 from individuals, businesses, community groups and others.

Principal Saunders emphasized that the community support has made all the difference.

"We weren't even sure if it was possible," he said. "Once it got rolling, it was amazing to see the community involvement."

Hopefully, the new playground will be installed this summer and ready for the start of the 2004-2005 school year. With contributions more than expected, they may be able to upgrade the design and do more surface improvements to the playground area, Saunders said.

In addition, a volunteer fund-raising effort was undertaken by Cindy Brown, a pediatric nurse and Ironton resident.

"One of our primary objectives is to increase public acceptance of people with developmental disabilities and this countywide show of support for students with special needs is overwhelming," Lawrence County MR/DD Superintendent Paul Mollett said in a written statement.

"We would love to host a grand opening once the playground is ready so students from all the schools which made donations could come meet our students and play together."

To make a contribution or for a full list of donors, contact the board at 532-7401.