Dreaming big: New all-inclusive playground planned
A drive through the Kewaunee school area this summer is a ride through a massive construction zone. From the track at the football field all the way over to the Hillcrest building, and from the school rooftops to the new agricultural building floor, there are many hardhat areas. One area that remains untouched is the grade school playground.
Playground replacement came up in the planning stages for school improvements that are underway now; however, the playground was left out of the final plan due to other expenditures that were given higher priority, according to Kewaunee School Superintendent Karen Treml.
The existing playground directly behind the grade school has been used for about 18 years. It’s showing its age albeit the staff keeps it maintained and safe for children to play on.
Treml is not only the superintendent but she is also the director of special education. She is passionate about children with special needs being able to play alongside of their peers.
“How sad to be in a wheelchair or use a walker, and you can only stand on the sidelines and watch the other children play,” Treml said.
Treml and others brainstormed ideas for a new playground. Treml said if you’re going to dream, you might as well dream big, and that’s what they did.
The new playground plans include ramps and swings for wheelchairs. It’s a highly accessible space where all kids will be able to play side by side. Kids can jump, spin, slide, and climb.
“These things are all good for them, even though they don’t know it,” Treml said.
Playgrounds are a special place and a big social time for kids and they should all be included, according to Treml which is why they’re calling it an all-inclusive playground.
The playground is designed for 3 or 4 to 12-year-olds at a cost of $220,000. So far about $65,000 has been raised thanks to a $60,000 donation from Bellin Health, which has a partnership with school athletics.
Phase I will begin the summer of 2017. The plan is to get a large center section of the playground built. The more money raised, the bigger Phase I will be, Treml said. The following phases will be similar to building wings onto the playground. The location of the new playground is directly behind the grade school where the current playground is.
Jill Webster is a playground aide at the school. She has two children, one of whom has special needs. Her children looked at the plans and both of them got very excited because they could play together and both had things they could do. Webster is very active in raising money to see the playground come to fruition.
The school district will have a rummage sale during this weekend’s Kewaunee city-wide rummage sale and the proceeds will go toward the playground.
A large fundraiser is being held in the form of a 5K/10K walk/run on Sept. 24. More information will be in the next Community Connection or can be found on Facebook @AGoodOldFashionedRun. All of the proceeds will go to the playground fund.
During school hours the playground is reserved for students. During non-school hours the playground is open to anyone.
“There’s nothing like this in Kewaunee County. The closest one is the Miracle League playground in Allouez. So it will be good for the school, the community, and the county,” Treml said.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Dreaming big: New all-inclusive playground planned