Deerfield PTA seeks $160,000 to upgrade school playground

Playground at the Deerfield Elementary School.  Recorder/Paul Franz

Playground at the Deerfield Elementary School. Recorder/Paul Franz

DEERFIELD — Deerfield children may be getting their first new playground in more than 20 years.

The town’s Community Preservation Committee has recommended $160,000 to replace the playground at the Deerfield Elementary School — a request put forth by the school administration and Parent-Teacher Association.

The project would go before the townspeople at annual town meeting for final approval.

The plan is to make the playground into more of a community park with new, safer equipment that is accessible to all children, with picnic tables and with shade areas for adults and community members to enjoy.

The new playground would be designed for children, ages 5 through 12. The current playground is used by kindergarten through fourth grade at the elementary school.

It would be the biggest renovation of the play area since the school was built roughly 20 years ago.

It would replace current equipment that is severely worn or broken and which would be recycled.

To encourage people to use the area, the playground would have new benches, shade trees, shelters, and picnic tables.

Most significantly, the new playground would accommodate all children of all different abilities.

There are 52 students who have physical disabilities or developmental delays in the school.

The final design is not set in stone.

The PTA has asked three playground equipment companies to provide draft proposals, including information on community build options. If funding is approved at town meeting, the PTA would make a request for proposals and work with an accredited playground design company to create a final design that meets the town’s needs and budget.

The PTA would also seek student and faculty input, Chalfant said.

While the project’s full value is $204,000, about 60 volunteers from the community have made in-kind donations, decreasing the cost to the town.

Other projects

The playground is one of three projects recommended by the Community Preservation Committee this week.

The other two projects were requested by the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association.

One project would fund the preservation of account books kept by old merchants and farmers for $1,100.

One request for $22,500 would address grading and drainage problems at Memorial Hall Museum.

The Community Preservation Committee rejected the $15,345 request from the Frontier Regional School Committee to repair cracks at the school tennis courts.

The School Committee had requested CPA money from its four feeder towns to pay for the $32,999 repair. It had asked for $4,455 from Conway, $4,748 from Whately and $8,451 from Sunderland.

The Whately and Sunderland CPC committees have recommended their towns’ shares of the project.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at: kmckiernan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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