It was priceless seeing kids’ faces as they were dropped off for school on Monday morning at York Academy Regional Charter School, said Jessica Brubaker.
Over the weekend, the school held a community build and assembled new playground equipment — a “very visible, exciting milestone” from the students’ perspective, said Brubaker, co-chair of the playground effort. It’s still not quite ready to go though, so the kids will have to wait a bit longer before getting out to play.
About 50 community members turned out to help on Saturday, Brubaker said. Prior to that, some excavation and utility work had already been done at the site next to the school. Now all of the play equipment is assembled and set in concrete. Future steps include building a pavilion that will resemble a train station and putting down play surfacing.
At that point, Brubaker said, the hope is that students will be allowed to play. There will still be more to do though, such as making improvements to the Beaver Street fencing, adding public art, and installing instructional aides for teachers.
The goal is to have the whole project finished by the end of the school year, Brubaker said.
The playground area will be named Simpson Station, after the late William Simpson, who was one of the founding trustees for the school and a member of its board of trustees when he passed away.
The planning for the project was part of the “Two Schools and a Creek” project, a partnership with Logos Academy and Foundry Plaza, Inc.
Logos was also planning a playground, and funding from the Cultural Alliance of York County allowed the groups to bring in consultant Ross Miller to help design the spaces.
The result was an ambitious plan that allows for “really fun play” as well as educational opportunities like urban gardening or other hands-on activities, streetscape improvements and as well, Brubaker said. There will be chances for the public to use the space after-hours, too.
“It’s not just play equipment for our students,” Brubaker said.
Fundraising for the playground is ongoing.