C.T. Plunkett's beloved Wacky World is being replaced with a safer, modern playground structure before the school year begins.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Plunkett Mega Park will rise from the ashes of Wacky World as a new, modern and eco-friendly playground as soon as the upcoming school year.
C.T. Plunkett School Principal Michelle Colvin said the new playground will not only be utilized as a place for kids to play, but as a tool for learning.
"The playground will not only be used during recess, but during physical education classes," Colvin said. "We talked to the students about fitness and what it means to be fit and how a playground can be used in two ways certainly for fun, but also for fitness.”
Both of Plunkett's physical education instructors sat on the Playground Committee and closely worked with the committee to make sure the park could be used to teach kids wellness and complies with the school's push to meet national fitness standards.
Although the students voted that the most important aspects of the park were the swings, slides and climbing structures, the park also will have equipment designed to strengthen student’s balance, coordination, core strength, and upper and lower body strength.
Colvin said the students were very involved in the process and they came up with the new park's name and helped design some of its aspects.
"They are so excited," Colvin said. "We have been doing a lot of talking in classrooms with kids about the fact that the structure is going to look a lot different than the traditional playground and what Wacky World was."
A community effort was made last year to save and repair the playground, but Colvin said that even though it was loved in the community, it was not the safest park. She said the new playground will be made out of materials that are safe and that pass all park standards.
“Kids were getting hurt on the wooden structure that was out there ... and it really forced us to take a look at that," she said. "We held onto the structure as long as we could because it was so beloved but … we quickly learned that the wooden structure had to go."
Colvin said fundraising and planning for a new playground began before Wacky World was torn down last year. She said the community has been completely on board.
“I think initially it was like a grieving process that the community went through with Wacky World because it was such a beloved piece of the fabric of the community,” she said. "Adams really focuses on the kids, and I think that is one of the reasons why businesses and people wanted to get involved."
Through fundraising and donations, the committee has been able to raise $56,309.
"The community support in this project has just been huge, and we wouldn't be where we are without our families doing the fundraising and our area businesses coming through for us,” she said.
The total project cost is $80,000; another $20,000 is needed to complete the park. However, she said there is more than enough money to start building the playground.
“We are going to install as much as we can with the money that we have,” Colvin said. "We are still actively fund raising, and the beauty of this playground is that it is open ended. So you can continue to build off of any of the pieces in the playground."
Colvin said that part of the demise of Wacky World was the lack of appropriated funds to maintain it. She said there will be a maintenance account for the new playground.
“We really want to take care of our investment and have it for as long as possible,” she said. "We recognize in 20 years from now there may be a need for another playground, but we want to take care of what we have."
The committee is still fundraising and accepting donations and people can make donations on the C.T. Plunkett PTG website.