District News

Help Make the New Elementary Playgrounds ADA Accessible

Posted on: March 25, 2021
Playground

Do you remember what it was like as a child to hear your parents say that you were going to head to the local park or playground on a sunny afternoon to play? There was not a piece of playground equipment you could not enjoy and there were no long lines waiting for someone else to finish. You could be care-free and did not need to think twice about how to swing, slide and play- it just came naturally.

Now imagine being a child with multiple disabilities. The park that is in walking distance does not have playground equipment that can be used by you or does not provide you the ability to even get to a piece of equipment. You want to be like the rest of the kids and have the same opportunities to have fun swinging, sliding and playing with your classmates, but you need help getting your wheelchair onto the only wheelchair accessible swing available, or you require help climbing to the top of the slide. And when you finally got on the swing or went down the slide you weren’t able to stay on for long as you wanted to because there was another child that wanted to have the same opportunity.

As a parent of four kids, one with special needs, it can be heartbreaking to take your kids to a park and only three of them be able to play. Currently, in Harrison we do not have any playgrounds that are set up for special needs children, especially those in wheelchairs. Putting in an ADA accessible playground does not make it only accessible to those with disabilities, it can be used by ALL kids! It would provide a space for all kids to play together!
-Whitewater Valley Parent 

Research has shown that any time you are able to fully incorporate typical children with children that have disabilities; the children with disabilities learn more than you could imagine.  A playground that is fully accessible for ALL children will give the opportunity for those children with disabilities the chance to walk up and down ramps, swing on the swings and slide down the slides.

In response to this problem, the new elementary schools, set to open in Fall 2021, are excited to promote our new accessible playground fundraising campaign.

  • Multiple ADA accessible playground units will be installed in unison with the full rubberized surface which promotes both safety, durability and again, access.
  • Due to the locations of our playgrounds, access for both the different communities we serve as well as multiple levels of students (elementary and middle school).

With your help we can create a colorful, exciting, and safe place for our children and community to play during recess, after school, and on weekends! The new playgrounds will feature both a full rubberized playing surface and 4 separate ADA accessible pieces of equipment. Children will no longer have to risk bumps, bruises, and accidents if they fall, as our new surface will cushion their landing. 

Basic playground costs have been included in the construction budget, however this does not include the ADA accessibility upgrades.  The new playgrounds will cost $165,000 and we need your help to make our playground dreams a reality.  We have been amazed by the support of the district, our family, and the community. To date we have secured $107,500 to support the project, and need to raise the additional $57,500 by June 2021. I am confident you will realize our need to invest in our community so that children of all ability levels and ages can benefit. 

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support the Elementary Playground Fund today!  On the donation page, you may designate which school's playground you would like to help fund.  You are helping to make a difference in the lives of our children and are allowing us to keep them safe while on our playgrounds. 

Please click HERE to make an online donation.  Donations may also be sent to the district office at 9860 West Road, Harrison, OH 45030.  Please make checks payable to Southwest Local School District, designated to the Elementary School Playground Campaign, and specify the school to which you are contributing.

If you would like to hear more about the project or discuss ideas, please contact John C. Hamstra, Superintendent / Southwest Local Schools, at john.hamstra@southwestschools.org.