After years of planning, students at J.C. Solmonese Elementary School will soon get to play on a new jungle gym.
Crew members from Northeast Playground Builders and parent volunteers are about halfway through the building process. They even spent a few hours building the playground this past Wednesday when temperatures were in the teens. The jungle gym was originally scheduled to be finished at the end of January, but the weather has pushed back the finish date to the second week of February.
“Regardless of the temperature, this playground is going to be built,” laughed Carolyn Gallagher of the Solmonese Parent Organization. “We have the nicest people from Northeast Playground Builders. We just have to bring them coffee and donuts.”
The SPO deemed the previous wooden playground unsafe and made a plea for a new one last year. According to SPO co-chair Karen McCarthy, one parent reported that the 25-year-old structure caused a young girl to break her arm. There was also an abundance of splinters emerging from the wood.
The new structure cost approximately $76,000, which was paid for through various fundraisers and donations. This did not include incidentals such as an additional climbing structure and rubber surfacing that may be added down the road. A yo-yo show wil be held Friday to raise extra money for these pieces, as well as a cookie dough fundraiser planned for the spring.
True to the structure’s name, it looks like a playground you’d expect to see in the jungle with artificial trees to climb and green plastic canopies.
“We wanted something natural looking,” Gallagher said. “We couldn’t have asked for anything better.”