By Anna Skinner
With the Westfield Intermediate School students’ ages ranging from 10 to 12, the old elementary playground equipment was a little out of style. From a partnership involving the WIMS PTO, Oak Trace Elementary School and the Westfield Rotary Club, WIS now has upgraded playground equipment to keep the kids active.
“WIS has a long-range playground upgrade plan. The school has the elementary equipment that’s been out there for 20 years,” said Donna Van Huis, WIS president, WIMS PTO. “It’s still usable and functional, but there’s nothing for kids to do outside.”
Between fundraising through the schools, WIMS PTO raised more than $25,000. This money supports educational programs and physical fitness equipment. Some proceeds went toward the Cyclone Challenger climbing structure, as well as some other equipment planning to be installed in the spring. The Westfield Rotary Club donated two Gaga Ball Pits, as well as their time for installation.
The Gaga Ball Pits are not actual pits, but 30 inch high walls with eight sides. The kids play dodgeball within the structure, which can include up to 16 kids at a time.
“It’s a neat partnership across all things. Oak Trace connected us with the ideas and playground equipment company, and the Rotary club helped with installation of the two dodgeball pits … It’s a cool collaborative process,” Van Huis said.
PTO members aren’t the only ones excited about the playground upgrade though, the kids are thrilled, too, with one student describing the structure as “fireballing awesome.”
“The students at WIS have gone Gaga over the Gaga Ball Pits. The PTO and the Rotary created an amazing partnership to provide students with more midday (recess) activities,” said Annette Patchett, WIS principal.