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New Medina playground at elementary school offers social and physical benefits

Provided photos: Cole Herman and Tyler Raduns are in front of the web at the playground, while Brayden Frasier and Jaxx McVey are in back.  

Posted 17 September 2018 at 11:02 am

Press Release, Medina Central School

Janelle Stalker enjoys playing at the new site.

MEDINA – As part of the Medina Central School District’s Capital Improvement Project, Oak Orchard Elementary received a new playground over the summer.

The previous playground was designed for a grade 3 to 5 population before the district was restructured and didn’t suit the wants and the needs of many of the school’s Pre-K to third grade student body.

“When we knew we were getting a new playground, everyone was excited because it could be developmentally age appropriate,” says Oak Orchard Principal Julie Webber. “It was a huge task to start with a blank slate. The first place where we started was with our students. We asked our student council members to ask their classmates what’s your favorite part of the playground and what would you like to see on the playground? They created a list and that is what we started with.”

After receiving the students’ wish list, a team of teachers, from each of the different grade levels, met to discuss what they would like to see in the new play space.

“We also incorporated our physical education teachers so it was meeting the students’ mobility and physical development needs as well as safety,” Webber said. “Our school nurse was also a great resource so that we could make it ADA compliant with wheelchair accessibility and adaptive swings.”

The school also consulted with the Medina Police Department to make sure the area was visible to them when they were patrolling the area after school hours.

After compiling their list and looking through catalogs they worked with the company GameTime Playground to complete the project.

“It came together beautifully,” she said. “We made it the red and blue colors of our district and I think it is a great addition to our campus. The students’ favorite parts of the old playground, swings and slides figured prominently in the design.”

Along with the school district’s color, Mrs. Webber saw this as opportunity for students to embrace the Mustang Mission.

“Our Mustang Mission is Respect, Responsibility, Honesty and Kindness,” she said. “So every classroom before they were able to go out and use the playground, which they were so excited to do that first day, they had to sign a contract that they would demonstrate those behaviors on the playground.”

The contracts are displayed on the wall as they walk out the door to the playground to remind them of their mission not only in the school, but in the community.

“So far we have not had one incident of anyone breaking their contract,” Mrs. Webber said proudly.

The school is hoping to continue improving on the space in the near future.

“We still want add some elements like some landscaping and greenery,” she said. “That is a work in progress. We are very excited about it, as is our PTSA and our community members. It is great to get such good feedback. We do ask however that the community refrain from using it during school hours to ensure the safety of our students.”

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