Funded by a grant from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), each playground is complete with wheelchair ramps connecting to larger play structures, double-wide ramps within each play area, and structures situated at a lower height to accommodate pre-school aged children. Imagination panels, each with a different sensory activity, invite children to bang drums, ring bells, trace mazes and Braille letters or peer through a periscope.
Each new play structure sits on top of a rubber surface allowing for easier maneuvering of wheelchairs.
“Before the updated surface, it was hard for students in wheelchairs to get to the playground because they had to go through the woodchips,” said Park School Principal Sue Kuligoski.
The redesigned playgrounds are not exclusive for one specific group of students, but rather meant to be enjoyed by all, officials said.
“When designing these playgrounds, the main idea was to get all children to play together,” said Assistant Superintendent and Director of Special Education Dr. Colleen Schultz.
“The kids love the new playground additions," said Dave Snyder, Liberty School principal. "The Merry-Go-Round is by far the most popular attraction.”
Sue Hofferica, Center School principal agreed. The line to ride the five-seat spinning attraction grows so long during recess she was forced to create a new playground position: Keeper of the Merry-Go-Round.