Community raises $10,000 for new, inclusive playground at Norfolk school

NORFOLK, Va. – The students at Tarrallton Elementary School are getting a new playground. And not just any new playground - one that's all inclusive!

The construction of the playground will benefit students aged 5-12, and the equipment will include accessible playground elements for all children.

The elementary school raised $10,000 from the community to supplement $90,000 of city funding already set aside for the new equipment. The Norfolk City Council accepted the donation at Tuesday's council meeting.

“The Tarrallton Elementary students, staff and administration gave us feedback and we listened,” said Director of Recreation, Parks and Open Space Darrell Crittendon. “The cyclo cone climber, accelerator swing and interactive panels at ground-level are just some of the inclusive features designed for children with autism, sensory disorders and other special needs. We are glad to partner with NPS to create environments where our children can succeed.”

Related: Salon catering to special needs adults and children opening in Norfolk

Tarrallton was able to raise money through a fundraising Fun Run, which was held in April. In addition to the nearly $8,000 raised through the run, two local businesses contributed another $2,500.

“We are very excited to know that a new playground will be coming to Tarrallton for our students very soon.  Everyone involved in our school and the community has worked very hard to make this happen. I can’t thank them enough!” said Tarrallton Principal Michael Swan.

Spearheading the project is first-grade inclusion teacher Teresa Crabtree. She said parents requested a new playground be built. The current equipment is 50 years old with chipped paint exposing the metal underneath.

“So, for the past five years I’ve been researching grants and loans and anything I could find to help us achieve that goal," Crabtree said.

She also explained how the new equipment will help children with disabilities such as muscular issues and autism.

“Some children have weak cores or weak fine-motor, so it’s hard for them to use the bars you see behind us," Crabtree said. "The spinner and the swings, they spin, and children with autism like that spinning motion. It actually calms them.”

Crabtree said the playground is scheduled to be completed November.

For more information, you can visit the City of Norfolk website. 

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