Agnes Little finally gets its playground

Agnes Little finally gets its playground

School nurse Kathy Kando, left, and former physical education teacher Debra Girard, show off the new playground at Agnes Little School. (Valley Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

PAWTUCKET - The new playground at Agnes Little Elementary School is finally ready to welcome students this spring, say staff and members of a playground committee at the school.

Debra Girard, a recently retired physical education teacher from the school, and Kathy Kando, the current school nurse, said the new playground was "a long time coming," but well worth the wait.

"It's got great stuff, very creative new pieces, different pieces," said Girard. "Also, we didn't want a place that could get vandalized, so it's wide open. There's no place to hide."

Students at the school have been without a playground for three years after school officials shut down the former play area due to safety concerns, said Kando.

Construction of the new $100,000 playground was made possible by a community development block grant and fundraising efforts by students and staff, said Girard, who said the Agnes Little School family was asked by city officials to prove its commitment to the project by raising money.

"They wanted to see that we were making some kind of effort," said Girard.

Money collected as part of events like the school's annual walkathon will be used to maintain the playground going forward. There is currently "a few thousand dollars" available for things like mulch, she said.

The new playground, from O'Brien Landscape Structures, is accessible to the handicapped and designed to meet the needs of the school's large population of autistic students, said Kando.

The playground is similar to the one at Varieur Elementary School, said Girard, with a big spider net and other climbing equipment that really makes students work their muscles.

"All of it is designed to build body strength," said Kando. "It's designed for creative and imaginative play."

According to Girard, new playgrounds like this one are designed with the idea that "there's no right way or wrong way of playing on it." Each component offers multiple ways of uses for students of all levels.