A dozen or more volunteers spent a rainy Monday at the Hugh Cole School, digging post holes and putting together seemingly endless nuts, bolts and fasteners that when finished this week, will be a brand new playground for the school’s 675 students.
The modular metal, rope and plastic playground should be totally finished by Tuesday, said parent volunteer Tara Thibaudeau, who has been helping raise money for the structure for two years. All told, the playground is the end of a multi-phase project that cost about $70,000. The first section was designed and installed for the preschool; after that followed a pre-school section and in the Spring of 2012, a set of monkey bars and fitness equipment, as well as a set of basketball hoops.
“It’s going to be great for the kids to come back to in the fall,” Ms. Thibaudeau said. “We knew we were going to need this equipment” as school enrollment increased. “It’s good to finally get it done.”
The idea for the playgrounds came from Hugh Cole physical education teachers Tracy Earl and Tracy Lima. The school never had enough playground facilities to go around, and the shortage forced different classes to have to rotate in and out. When work first started on fund-raising, the teachers were happy that Ms. Thibaudeau volunteered to help.
“Tara has six children, so we knew we were going to the right place” for help, Ms. Lima said.
Over the last couple of years, volunteers held bake sales, change drives and other fund-raisers to help, and grants came in from the Bristol Warren Education Foundation and the Bristol Warren Regional School Committee.
“We have great, really big place,” Ms. Earl said. “We want the kids to be able to use it all.”
The playground installed this week takes up a square about 50 feet per side. It was made by Landscape Structures and arrived in a myriad of bags, bubble wrap and cardboard boxes. Meghan O’Brien, of O’Brien and Sons of Medfield, Mass., was the distributor and came down to Warren Monday morning to help put the apparatus together. She said she’d be back Tuesday, rain or shine.
“Don’t take the tags off of anything!” she said as volunteers helped put lag bolts in one section of the apparatus.
For the most part, it went off without a hitch, and volunteers set up a few portable canopies to protect them from the rain showers that were forecast to move through the area all day.
“We’re here, rain or shine,” Ms. Thibaudeau said. “We’re getting it done.”