Woonsocket's Harris School Preps New Playground
Volunteers gathered at 6 a.m. this morning to spread wood chips for newly installed play space.
There was no shortage of elbow grease at the new playground taking shape behind Harris Elementary School this morning, where dogged volunteers bent backs and shovels to to spread 100 cubic yards of wood chips.
Three kids, Emma Costa, 5, Jade Kidwell, 8 and Lorelei Tillson, 8, weren't waiting for the finishing touches on the new playground equipment, one section for K-2nd grade and one for grades 3-5. The trio climbed the green stairs many times for a first crack at the slides.
"It's cool. I kind of like it," said Tillson.
Among the roughly dozen volunteers were teachers, parents, custodial staff at the school, and candidates for state rep Mike Morin (running against. Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt for Dist. 49 in the Sept. 11 primary) and Stephen Casey (running against Rep. Jon Brien for Dist. 50 in the Sept. 11 primary).
Michelle Gautreau, co-chair of the Harris Elementary Playground Committee, said she recruited Morin during a recent School Committee meeting where she asked for volunteers. Morin offered his help, she said, and enlisted Casey's assistance, too. The duo showed up with everyone else at 8 a.m. "It's hard to get them to stop," Gautreau said.
"There's not enough funding to do projects like this so it's all volunteer work," Morin said. He said he and Steve were glad to help.
Gautreau said the Playground Committee has been raising money for the $61,000 playground for the last five years with various fundraisers. They have a about $63,000 raised for the playground, she said.
The playground equipment was installed last week, Gautreau said, and they were spending the day landscaping the wood chips around the site. The first 60 cubic yards showed up with the volunteers in the morning, she said. While they were still spreading that and muscling plastic dividers into place, the remaining 40 cubic yards, piled about six feet high, was trucked in.
The group was still hard at work at 11:30 a.m., and expected to spend the whole day at the school.