MINFORD — Students at Minford Elementary School have some new playground equipment thanks to a joint effort from the Harrison Township and Madison Township Trustees.
According to Minford Local Schools Superintendent Jeremy Litteral, the new playground equipment all came about from funding that the townships received. Madison Township was able to give to the school, $150,335 and Harrison Township gave $104,065 to purchase and have the new playground installed.
“This is a collaboration between the townships and the school district, the township trustees and their fiscal officers with the Esser funds and the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) act funding. They donated a part of their funding to help the school put this playground in,” Litteral said. “The goal is to allow for a little more social distancing when kids are on the playground and give them a little more space and also, it is really great for our kids because it allows them to get physical activity when they are at recess.
The new playground is set up like an obstacle course and offers students several activities and play equipment.
“We were excited to partner with the townships to make this happen. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, through federal funds that came out to deal with the cost associated with the coronavirus and the impact it had on the schools,” Litteral said. “These funds were mostly from the CARES act dollars, which were the first round of funds and ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) has since followed to try and make up for the costs that you have spent on other things that normally you’d spend on operating.”
Ryan McGraw, Minford Elementary Principal, spoke to the children present and told them about a ribbon-cutting and what it meant, and then the school fight song was played after the cutting of the ribbon. The children were so excited about their new playground there were some very loud cheers at this ceremony.
McGraw explained to the students and other community leaders about the different types of playground equipment.
“I had seen things like this before, to just get kids out and wanting to do something out of the ordinary. The ninja warrior thing is big right now, and it teaches kids to work on dexterity, fine motor skills, athletic ability and everything. It checks all the boxes,” McGraw said. “I had been to a park in Hurricane, West Virginia and they had something like this, and my kids absolutely loved it. I thought this would be awesome, but I never thought that we would ever be able to afford something like this.”
McGraw shared he felt the school had purchased and installed the playground the right way and it would be available for students for years and all age groups can use it. Instead of just putting one unit up, the new equipment has eight units so students can be spread out.
“We’ve known we’ve needed a playground for a while and that was something we knew through COVID money we could get because it would spread kids out,” McGraw said. “With that being said, we had a short time to use it, we put this together quickly and it worked out. The company we worked with was fantastic, with a quick turnaround to get this installed. We purchased it at the end of last year and it is already installed and ready to go.”
Along with new playground equipment, the surface underneath the playground was also upgraded. All decked in red and white, the surface is a poured rubber surface and then a soft turf on top.
According to Sandy Brisker, fiscal officer for Harrison Township she said that the township didn’t need the money for COVID expenses, so they asked if the town could subgrant it to the schools rather than let the money go back. Brisker said they thought the community could use a new playground for social distancing. Harrison Township trustee Calvin Seibert chimed in, “Never turn down a grant!”
Along with Brisker, Jackie Noel, Madison Township’s fiscal officer, worked together with Noel, filing paperwork for both townships and keeping track of the funds.
“I oversaw the distributions, tracking and reporting of the CARES ACT FUNDS for Madison and also for Harrison townships. We were thankful to be able to Sub-Grant our two township’s Coronavirus Relief Funds to the Minford Local School District,” Noel said. “I worked closely with Brisker and Ashley Roberts, the school treasurer in the distributions given to the school.
Not only was the school able to purchase a new playground, but the school was also able to purchase a bus, 96 chrome books, three KAIVAC cleaning/disinfecting machines, a Tomcat rider scrubber cleaning machine and purchase the new playground.
“It was an honor to be able to give to the local schools,” Noel said.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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