ADRIAN — Dates for a community build of the Alexander Elementary Unlimited Playground have been set as Adrian School and Public Schools near the full amount of funding for the project.
Community building will take place over three dates: July 21-23. Work will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, according to an update from Principal Alexander Shanan Henline.
At least 18 volunteers will be needed daily to assemble the school’s inclusive playground, accessible to all children, even those with disabilities and mobility issues. Volunteers, Henline said, are welcome to help build community for a single day or all three days. Volunteers are asked to stay on the playground for the eight hours of work.
Volunteers can register for any of the dates by contacting Henline at 517-263-9533 or emailing [email protected]
The cost of the project is $131,696, Henline said while speaking to Adrian’s school board at its Monday meeting. Henline also posted a project update via social media on Monday, where she said $102,379 had been raised for construction of the playground in just under two years. Adrian Public Schools has pledged its support for the project and is expected to purchase two playground equipment — a glider and slide included — at its May 9 meeting for $21,921.
Donations of $10,000 each for the playground came from Adrian’s Kiwanis Club and Rotary Adrian Noon.
Donations of $250 or more will be recognized on a donor wall that will be erected near the playground. For those wishing to donate for playground costs, checks can be made payable to Adrian Public Schools/Alexander Elementary School c/o Alexander Boundless Playground.
Miracle Playsystems Michigan came up with designs for the Unlimited Playground and is the developer of the project.
“We are thrilled to finally say that we are in a place where we have set dates for community building,” Henline said in his social media announcement.
Additional fundraising opportunities will also be available. Alexander staff will organize a donation campaign towards the end of the school year in recognition of its staff members. The parent-teacher organization, which has been involved in building the playground from the start and has donated to the project, will hold an upcoming auction. Third, the school is seeking a grant from the NASCAR Foundation that is tied to summer youth programming and healthy lifestyle education. If the grant were granted, the playground would have an additional investment of $15,000. Students, staff, parents and chaperones will have the opportunity on August 5 to visit the Michigan International Speedway and meet some of the race drivers under the grant.
Before community construction can take place this year, the balance needed for the project as of Monday is $39,308.
By conducting community building, Henline said, savings of $5,000 to $8,000 are realized.
“Plus, I think many of you will be happy to volunteer your time to make this happen,” she said during her online announcement.
The idea of an unlimited elementary school playground started in the summer of 2020 when the COVID-19 closures impacted schools and moved almost everything to a virtual and online format.
Natasha Abbott, a parent in the district and an elementary school lunch supervisor, approached Henline about having an inclusive playground at the school. Abbott’s daughter, Dayton, uses a wheelchair and is unable to access elementary playgrounds in their current state. The elementary school has two playgrounds on its campus. When the new playground is built, Henline said it will be used by students on a rotating basis.
Barrier-free playground features include swings with back support, a merry-go-round where wheelchair users can be strapped in, wheelchair ramps and a rubberized firm surface.
By the end of August 2020, Abbott had raised $10,000 for construction of the playground.
“It seems surreal that we’re at this point where the project will come to fruition, but that being said, I had no idea what community building was,” Henline said. “Honestly, I just thought 100 people would show up and the project would be done. But instead, since we’re doing community building, we need to provide tools and supplies to help do that.