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Antolini Playscape Reopens as Playground Committee Works to Close Gap on Needed Funds

by on November 19, 2012

PTO Playground Committee | Ann Antolini School | 30 Antolini Road | New Hartford, CT  06057 | PH: 860-489-4169

NEW HARTFORD – At the start of school year, the need for a new playground was apparent as Antolini’s wooden playscape, built in the early 1990’s, was once again closed due to splinters. In the fall 2009, the school’s wooden playscape was closed by administrators due to the numerous splinters students received from the structure. A group of New Hartford Parent Teacher Organization (NH PTO) members recognized the need for a new playground at the school and organized the NH PTO Playground Subcommittee.

The subcommittee first focused on a temporary solution to the splinters.  Workers were able to sand and stain the playscape making it safe for the children to use.

Next, they formed a mission statement: “To provide the school and the New Hartford community with the highest quality outdoor physical education opportunities in a safe and secure environment.  We strive for the promotion of healthy physical activity for children of all abilities and varying interests.  We also foster social growth and a partnership with students, faculty, families and the community.”

Over the past three years, the subcommittee has raised over $53,000 through various fundraising efforts and support from the community.  Students, parents, and teachers have made donations to the fund.  Marandino’s and Gresczyk’s have sold red reusable bags to benefit the playground.  The project has received grants from New Hartford Community Connections and the New Hartford Women’s Club.  The most successful fundraiser was a Jog-A-Thon held in May of 2012.  The students obtained donations from friends and neighbors based on the number of laps they jogged. 

Estimates from 3 vendors to replace the existing playground with accessible surfacing show costs at approximately $80,000. The group is working with the school administration to source and apply for further grants. They have also made several inquiries to Senator Witkos’ Office and was most recently told that there needed to be a commitment from the Town of New Hartford.

The existing playscape was reopened this week for the children to play on. Principal Shaw had the structure sealed to help the splintering for now.

The subcommittee’s goal is to build the new playground in the spring/summer of 2013. Donations or any information regarding grant opportunities to help meet this goal can be sent to:  PTO Playground Committee, 10 Antolini Road, New Hartford, CT 06057.

While fundraising continues, the group remains committed to their mission statement. Most recently, committee member Tracy Dickey and her husband, John, made improvements to the blacktop area to enhance students’ time at this location. Receiving permission to repurpose an unused wall from the school’s ropes course, they erected a freestanding wall for “Wall Ball”.  In addition, they repainted the lines for basketball, four square, kick ball and added a fun “Sidewalk Simon” game for the kids. 

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