Deerfield school seeks volunteers for play structure

For the Gazette
Friday, October 14, 2016

SOUTH DEERFIELD — The Deerfield Elementary School is seeking volunteers to help put together a piece of play equipment for students.

Julie Chalfant, playground committee chairwoman, presented the school-organized “community build” event at a recent Select Board meeting. She said the structure is a “play web,” and will be put together by the community Oct. 22 and 23, starting at 7:30 a.m. and ending at 4:30 p.m.

“We’re hoping to finish in one day, but if not, we’ll meet again on Sunday, ” Chalfant said, adding that the piece is intended for students in fifth and sixth grade and will be built on the west side of the school, in their recess area — near the swing sets and not in the way of the sports field.

Chalfant said the school ordered the equipment through a business that will send a representative to provide oversight and, after it’s put together, make sure the structure is safe to use. She also said the structure was bought with $15,000 left over from $160,000 in Community Preservation Act money appropriated by the town a few years ago for the school’s playground, which was built last year.

“We wanted to add one more piece of equipment on the other side of the school,” Chalfant said. Last year, she said the town held a similar three-day, community-build event, drawing about 150 volunteers and saved the town about $35,000 in labor.

An announcement on the Elementary School PTA’s Facebook page about the event says that this year’s volunteers do not have to have any special skills, and that the play structure is “much-needed.” The post also says that lunch and child care will be provided.

According to Chalfant, Home Depot is donating cement for the project, which the town Department of Public Works will pick up and transport to the school.

Chalfant said that along with the additional structure, volunteers will help also install four benches around the existing playground.