West Side Elementary nearing playground completion goal

Published 7:06 am Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A drawing of what the new playground at West Side Elementary School will look like.

A drawing of what the new playground at West Side Elementary School will look like.

It has been a busy year for the West Side Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO).
The school’s parent-teacher group has spent the year raising money for a new playground at West Side.
According to the West Side website, the project is to “develop a safe, fully inclusive, accessible playground that will allow children of all abilities to play and learn together while valuing each others’ differences thus creating an environment where compassion, friendship and healthily lifestyles can flourish for all children.”
As of Monday, Dec. 5, the fundraising efforts by the PTO have totaled $30,370 for the project. The total budget for the project is $82,488.92. Along with total raised, it was mentioned that an anonymous donor has pledged to match funds up to $20,000 to support the cause.
“We’re so close to the goal that we can see it,” PTO member Regina May said. “We just held our big fundraisers and then we received the information about the donor. It has been great to see the support for the project from the community.”
The PTO’s focus is on health and providing a structure that benefits all children of the community, May said. May and PTO President Dr. Alainya Hare, along with Principal John Wright have been on the front lines spearheading the project along with the rest of the organization.
West Side’s playground is not only for students, May added, with it being open to the general public. The renovations for the playground would not only benefit the students, but provide a wide variety of activities for the community to utilize over the coming months.
The organization earned 501(c)3 status in September, being designated as a non-profit organization, so that donations can be tax-deductible.
“We have a separate bank just for funds,” May said. “So every bit of money that is raised for the playground goes directly to it.”
The recent designation also allows the PTO to apply for grant funding, which May hopes can be accomplished in the near future.
If everything goes according to plan, the PTO is hoping to have the project ready by the summer, May said. If grant funding can assist, the time frame could be bumped up, possibly near the end of the school year.
Individuals looking to make donations can do it by different ways. Citizens can call West Side at (423) 547-8030. May also provided her number (423) 895-0343.
For updates on the project, visit the West Side Elementary PTO Facebook page.

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