Perhaps nobody is more excited that spring is here than the young students at the Beecher Road School. They have a new playground to play on. The last weekend of March, members of the BRS community including PTO, staff, parents and citizens built the playground. With shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows and picks, these volunteers came to demonstrate once again how the Woodbridge community values its children, according to Superintendent of Schools Guy Stella.
“At Beecher Road School and any good school, academics are important for children to grow in knowledge. But so is the whole child, the physical wellness of the child as well as social and emotional development,” Stella says.
“That means the physical wellness of the child, as well as the social and emotional development of children. A playground is a wonderful opportunity for children to be themselves and interact physically with a sense of adventure and develop habits of lifelong wellness, and healthy bodies, but also to socially interact in a way that doesn’t happen without a playground,” he says.
Directed by parents Brie and Jason Pfannenbecker, teachers Anthony Taddei and Larry Hurwitz, and a foreman from Miracle Playground, the new primary playground was put together by the volunteers.
Once the playground was approved for use, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held. On April 9, Woodbridge First Selectman Edward Sheehy, State Representative Themis Klarides, PTO representatives, administration and staff.
For the community, it was a day of celebration; for the children, it was a day of joy, according to Stella. “It was a weekend that saved the taxpayers money, built community and most importantly, provided a meaningful resource for our students,” he says.
Over December break, the 24-year-old north and south playgrounds were dismantled since they did not meet safety standards. A playground committee consisting of representatives from the administration, staff, PTO and district office staff was formed. The firm of Fuss and O’Neill was selected to oversee the project.
“We promised the children that we would build this playground,” Stella says. “We got feedback from them, too. They helped the playground committee and they had a lot of input.”
The district requested funds for the south playground as part of its capital budget. If that request is approved, the south playground in place by the beginning of the new school year.