Whitfield Elementary School students are in for big changes this fall. Renovations to the school will be completed for the beginning of the school year.

Along with remodleing the building, developing a brand new playground for the students is underway.

The playground has been intact for 15 years. "The paint is beginning to chip off and pieces are starting to fall off," said Lisa Gantner, vice president of the Whitfield Home & School Association (WHSA) and the Playground Fund Chair.

The WHSA decided since there was going to be improvements made to the school, so should the playground.

Gantner began her search for the perfect playground by incorporating the most important opinions, the students. " I wanted input from the parents, children and the community. I made a list of playgrounds," said Gantner.

She added that she took her child, who is in fifth grade at the school, and other children to different playgrounds and asked them what they found appealing. "The Red Hot Lava game is apparently popular with the children," said Gantner.

The playground equipment will be purchased from two companies - The Kompan Company and the General Recreation Inc. " I met with three different representatives. But most of the equipment is mainly from General Recreation Inc."

The newly proposed playground will accommodate everyone in the school. "It is compliant with the American Disability Act (ADA)." The act was created in 1990 and states that requirements need to be met for disabled children, including playground equipment. The school's programs include two special educational classes: Multiple Disabilities Support and Life Skills classes. "The playground is inclusive to everyone."

It will be developed for the 5-12 age groups and will be open to the community. "It is open to everyone in the Whitfield area not just the 600 students."

The WHSA will have to raise about $41,000 for the proposed playground that the school association wants to created.

The WHSA is currently starting to raise money at the student and family level. "We had a contest at the school and we raised about $1,200 dollars. Whitfield families have contributed about $4,000."

They also asked for a grant from former Senator David J. Brightbill and are looking for local corporations to help their cause. "Our goal is to get the playground as fast as possible, ideally by the fall. It maybe unlikely but we are still hopeful. The kids are pretty excited."

For more information about the playground or to make a donation contact Lisa Gantner at: Whitfieldplaygournd@comcast.net or (610) 670-6135.

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