The Grandview Heights K-6 PTO is spearheading an effort to obtain grant money to pay for construction of a new state-of-the-art sensory playground at Stevenson Elementary.

The Grandview Heights K-6 PTO is spearheading an effort to obtain grant money to pay for construction of a new state-of-the-art sensory playground at Stevenson Elementary.

The multi-station playground would replace the previous kindergarten playground, which had to be dismantled last fall because of safety concerns.

"We had basically one large piece of equipment that we had to take down because of age and just because of concerns for the safety of the students," Stevenson principal Brian Bowser said. "It had just run its course."

That left the school without a kindergarten playground, Bowser said, "and the PTO just stepped in to work with us on planning a new and improved playground. This is such a great community. We could never get this accomplished without the PTO."

The new playground would be built in the original space at the rear of the school near the kindergarten classrooms. It would have a number of stations that would accommodate about 35 students, said Tiffany Martin, chair of the PTO's grant committee.

The components would include an art station with a place for children to paint and create and interactive murals and a music station with outdoor interactive instruments youngsters can play, Martin said.

Students will be able to ride tricycles on a wheelchair-accessible path with bridges and touch and smell the leaves and flowers that will be planted throughout the site, she said. Binoculars would be installed so youngsters would be able to observe the activity at bird houses placed around the playground.

Climbing walls, spinning equipment and swings would be installed to promote physical fitness and balance, Martin said.

"The swings will be built low to the ground so the children can sit on them or lie on their stomach and safely swing," she said.

The playground would not only serve kindergarten age children, but other students for whom the sensory elements of the playground could help with their special developmental issues, such as autism, Bowser said.

"There will be areas in the playground where students can go for quiet, independent activity and other areas where they can engage in group activities," he said.

The total estimated cost of the playground is about $80,000, although the total cost will ultimately be determined by the amount of grant money and private and corporate donations the project receives, Martin said.

About $10,000 to $15,000 in grant money has been secured so far, Bowser said.

The PTO has submitted a grant request with the Columbus Foundation and is planning to enter the playground proposal in the Pepsi Refresh Project, which awards $1.3-million in grants each month to the entered projects that receive the most online votes.

"We're hoping to enter our project for the July round of grants," Martin said.

Individuals or businesses can also contribute by calling Stevenson Elementary at 488-3640, she said.

The PTO's newly formed grant committee has made the playground project its first area of focus, Martin said.

More information about the proposed sensory playground project can be found at www.facebook.com/GrandviewHeightsPTOPlayground.