New playground at Amvet Boulevard in the works

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This field beside Amvet School is slated to be the location for a new playground. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

An empty section of the Amvet Boulevard School property will someday be home to a brand new playground.

Earlier this month the school held its first meeting of the new Playground Committee, which will oversee the fundraising and construction process. Amvet Principal Kristine Kefor said this project has been a priority for some time, going back to her predecessor, now-Assistant Superintendent Michelle McKeon.

The school currently has no playground, and the committee plans to use a section of field—around which there is a walking track—for the new one. On March 7, the first meeting of the Playground Committee saw almost 30 attendees and Kefor said there is a lot of excitement for the project.

Playgrounds are important spaces where children work on social skills, imagination and creativity, and improve self-confidence,” said Kefor. “Additionally, critical thinking skill development can also be a benefit from playgrounds.”

It’s estimated that a new playground will cost $200,000 and different fundraising options are being explored. Committee Chair Cari Orsi said a Read-A-Thon program is running from March 19-25 with a goal of $4,000 for the playground. Other ideas being considered include a food truck event in June and seeking corporate sponsors or grants.

Back in October, the committee set up a table at the school’s Trunk or Treat with a donation jar, raising over $100 that day, which Kefor said shows the desire among parents for the project to succeed.

People were thrilled,” said Kefor. “That initial momentum showed us we are making the right choice.”

Rather than set an open-ended date of completion, the committee is giving itself until the end of 2022 to finish fundraising. What is collected, even it falls below the $200,000 goal, will go to the new playground. A groundbreaking is planned for the spring or summer of 2023, with the finished structure to be ready when the children return in the fall.

Bridget Buttimer is the president of the PTO, and said their role will be to support the committee however they can. As a parent, Buttimer said there is a lot of anticipation around the idea.

It’s such a win-win for everybody,” she said.

A conceptual design hasn’t been done yet, but Orsi said the goal will be to make it inclusive for all physical ability levels. Kefor said the school’s occupational therapist and special education teacher have suggested different ways to meet this goal, such as sensory play stations for some students.

We’ll provide the students with an area to grow and play,” said Orsi. “There are so many benefits to having a playground.”

For more information, contact the Playground Committee at amvetplays@gmail.com. More information can be found at www.amvetplays.org, or on Facebook under Amvet Playground Project or Instagram under amvet_plays.