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Somerville Road Elementary third-grader Jessica Bond with an aging piece of playground equipment. The school is attempting to raise money to replace the current playground with a modern one, which would allow access for special-needs students.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Somerville Road Elementary third-grader Jessica Bond with an aging piece of playground equipment. The school is attempting to raise money to replace the current playground with a modern one, which would allow access for special-needs students.

1950s playground showing its age
1950s playground showing its age

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com · 340-2432

The playground equipment is older than almost every adult working at Somerville Road Elementary School, and the children are still playing on some of the remaining pieces.

Well, at least some of the children get to enjoy the swing, slide and monkey bars that Principal Dee Dee Jones thinks the PTA bought in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Decatur City Schools built Somerville Road Elementary in 1941.

Jones and the Somerville Road PTA are trying to raise $80,000 through a combination of community contributions, fundraisers and grants. The group is having a ham ($38) and turkey ($28) sale.

They want playground equipment that is handicap accessible with special features for autistic children. The school is home to the school system’s elementary developmental program for the mentally and physically disabled.

She said children who use wheelchairs would have access to every part of the equipment through a series of ramps. It also would feature sensory stations with mirrors, sliding plastic, beads with different shapes and textures, and a music panel.

The equipment would have five slides, monkey bars, a space walk, six balconies and much more.

The playground would also get a “No Fault” safety surface. This rubberized surface would make it safer and allow wheelchair access.

The school is almost finished with a new track, which lacks only the striping. Jones said the playground would go in the middle of the track, so students in wheelchairs could spin around the track or go directly to the playground.

Call 552-3033 if you would like to buy a ham or a turkey or help fund the playground.

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