Upper Arlington News

Volunteers help Greensview take PRIDE in its new play space


Volunteers recently completed the first phase of Greensview Elementary School's new accessible playground, which also will serve children who play at the adjacent Sunny 95 Park in Upper Arlington.

Meghan Harder, president of Greenview's PTO, said the new playground will be accessible for children with disabilities and is based on survey results from students, staff, parents and teachers on the multiple disabilities staff.

"We had requests for climbers, spinners and equipment that could enhance balance and strength, along with sensory-rich pieces that swaddle, comfort and engage all our students," she said. "We also wanted to mix single play with group play."

She said Greensview's PRIDE playground is different from Barrington Elementary School's recent playground installation because there will be single play space for all elementary-age children during or after school hours. The play space also will be a part of the Sunny 95 Park and any programs the city chooses to offer there.

Harder said the playground was named the PRIDE playground because the word is an acronym for positive attitude, respect, integrity, duty and empathy.

"These are the values we have in the Greensview family and feel that they are the same ones every family would embrace," she said.

"Our equipment was aging and we wanted to be proactive in replacing it, with a phased approach," she said. "We are keeping some equipment, including the largest play structure, swings and a climbing structure."

She said Greensview and Barrington share the responsibility of teaching district students who have multiple disabilities.

"We wanted to make sure our playground was something that all of our students could be proud to play on," she said.

Harder said the Greensview PTO collaborated with the city of Upper Arlington and the city's parks and recreation department in designing the playground.

"With Greensview's proximity to Sunny 95 Park, it made sense to collaborate," she said.

She said Greensview will now be the location of Upper Arlington's Safety Town program, which uses play structures that resemble city buildings, solar-powered traffic lights and roads.

The PTO raised $65,000 for the first phase of the playground installation and hopes to raise an additional $45,000, Harder said.

Phase 1 included a large performer dome, spinner bowls, a spica -- which is a rotating play piece -- an accessible seat swing, number and letter grid stencils and U.S. and world map stencils on the playground blacktop.

Phase 2 will include a large rotating net, arch swings and a "seagull swing," where a child with special needs sits on a swing that automatically moves based on the movement of a child on an adjacent swing.

Harder said the phase 1 construction was completed by about 15 volunteers, led by Michael Nadalin, from the Kompan playground equipment company, and Chris Orr, a Greensview parent who owns Chris Orr Construction.

"We received many in-kind donations for this effort, including from the Paul Peterson Co., the Shelly Co., Donatos, Subway, Rita's Italian Ice and Greensview parents," Harder said.

She said community support "has been overwhelming."

"We did a neighborhood letter drive this past summer and received donations with touching notes about taking grandchildren to the Greensview playground," she said.

"We got one from the family whose son was in the first MD (multiple disabilities) unit at Greensview. His mom remembered the students rallying to provide handicap doors for the special needs students. She said how much her son would have enjoyed this playground."