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Old equipment

The existing playground equipment at Wadewitz Elementary is inaccessible to many of its students and is more than 20 years old.

RACINE — The all-inclusive playground at Wadewitz Elementary School, 2700 Yout St., will soon enter its construction phase, and volunteers are needed to help make the playground a reality.

Wadewitz Elementary is seeking volunteers for assistance Monday through Friday, May 21-25. Volunteers may work in three, 4-hour shifts — 7 to 11 a.m., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3 to 7 p.m.

Those interested in volunteering should bring tools and work gloves if they have them and report to the back of the school. Two supervisors will be in charge during construction. Water will be provided.

A long time coming

It took two years of fundraising to make the playground possible. Six staff members collected about $200,000 through various fundraisers, donations and grants to pay for the handicap-accessible equipment.

The existing Wadewitz playground is almost 20 years old and is not handicapped-accessible. Parts of it are boarded up and, after rainstorms, flooding makes it unusable for days. Students in wheelchairs can’t even approach the equipment, as the ground beneath it is covered in sand and is bordered by railroad ties.

Wadewitz has a large population of students with orthopedic impairments, including many who use wheelchairs. Of its nearly 600 students, 22 percent have special needs — including autism, physical limitations and intellectual challenges.

The new equipment will include textured slides for students with sensory needs and a rocking boat that will hold four wheelchairs in addition to able-bodied students.

There will be therapy rings to help students build strength, ramps for easy access to equipment and a wobble sphere meant to soothe children with autism. The new equipment will feature 6,000 square feet of play space.

For more information on volunteering, go to email Lisa Johnson at lisa.marie.johnson@rusd.org.

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Alyssa Mauk covers breaking news and courts. She enjoys hanging out with her daughter, gaming on her XBOX One, comic books and heavy metal music.

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