Community build saves money on new playground

By Jason Harris - Staff Writer
Salem - posted Mon., Nov. 26, 2012
A group of volunteers works on the 'Energy Junior' part of the project. Photos by Jason Harris.
A group of volunteers works on the 'Energy Junior' part of the project. Photos by Jason Harris.

The Salem community and groups from the Groton submarine base came together Nov. 17 for a community build at the Salem Middle and Elementary Schools. According to an event flyer, the Parent Teacher Organization donated the new wellness and playground equipment to the Salem Elementary and Middle Schools.

The PTO had some money in its savings account that was raised many years ago, said PTO President Athena Sartori. It was just sitting there after the playground wasn’t approved at that time. When it came up this time, there was a lot of discussion about the “Energy Junior,” which is the wellness part of the community build for the middle school students, Sartori said.

The “Energy Junior” was the primary piece for which the money was raised, according to Sartori. There wasn’t enough money for both pieces, so the PTO held a golf tournament this past summer, where they raised $12,000, which allowed them to buy both pieces of equipment from UltiPlay Parks & Playground.

The price for the project was around $70,000, but with a 30-percent discount and the community build, the price tag was lowered to around $46,000, Sartori said. The help from community volunteers and volunteers from the submarine base in Groton saved the PTO thousands of dollars.

PTO member Susan Rogers described the wellness equipment as a seven-piece station where middle school students can do five or six exercises at each station. “I think it’s awesome that the community came together to do this,” Rogers said. “It was built in memory of people we have lost in our Salem school community.”

Rogers said that before the community build, she didn’t even know how to use a socket wrench. She proclaimed it was empowering and was proud to show her daughter the piece that she assembled.

“I think this is awesome for the Salem community,” said middle school Interim Principal Suzanne Zahner. Zahner said she is pleased the middle school students are getting the “Energy Junior,” since they have outgrown the older playground at the school. It will also help out the school’s physical education and wellness programs, she said.

“This is a great project,” said Chris Weimer, a volunteer. “The PTO was asking for volunteers, so a lot of people stepped up to the plate and came out to help out. It’s good to see everyone come out and pitch in.”

Salem resident Mike Murphy said it was a perfect day for the build and he was impressed with the turnout. He was there with his wife, Carrie, who also helped put playground equipment together.

Rachelle Weimer said that Salem is such a small town that it needs volunteers for projects like this one.

 


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