Open Door School seeking new playground

Published 10:16 am Monday, May 24, 2010

Anyone who has ever driven by Open Door School, has probably seen the playground. Three swings, a jungle gym, one wheelchair swing and a few slides. There is nothing on the playground that can be reached without stepping up onto it.

This is the problem facing Open Door School and its students.

“We need things that can work as well for wheelchair-bound students as for the other students,” said Barb Albert, president of the ODS Boosters.

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The current playground equipment does not allow for the wheelchair-bound students to be able to play at recess without being lifted up onto the equipment.

According to ODS officials, adaptive equipment would give each student access to play with the equipment regardless of their disability.

The ODS Boosters have begun raising funds for a new, adaptive playground by selling cookbooks. Each cookbook has a unique cover, each one colored by a student at ODS.

“The kids are excited to take part in this,” said Albert.

“Every other day we get a new batch to color,” said Vanessa Honaker, a teacher at the school.

The cookbooks are $10 and contain a variety of recipes from lemon bars to spiced chicken with mango salsa.

According to Booster treasurer Cathy Artis, they have already sold about 200 cookbooks.

There is still a long way to go to raise enough money to build an adaptive playground.

This kind of equipment can cost anywhere from $20,000-$30,000, according to Albert.

Currently, the existing playground also needs to be remulched. There are grassy patches coming through and uneven areas. The mulch is so worn down that 7-year-old Gabby can’t use the only ramp that would allow her access to the play set.

The receding mulch is also prohibiting the use of the only wheelchair swing because it makes it difficult to lift the chairs into it, said Misty Chaffins, another ODS teacher.

There are also no swings for children that can’t sit up on their own, according to Honaker.

The ODS Boosters will continue to sell the cookbooks through the end of the school year. They will also begin to look for business sponsors in the fall. They will also have another candy bar sale in the fall.