Northborough builds path to help kids get to Peaslee swings

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School district staff, in collaboration with the Department of Public Works, recently wrapped up a project to improve accessibility at Peaslee Elementary School in Northborough. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

NORTHBOROUGH – All of the playgrounds at Northborough schools will now be equally accessible after the school district helped build a ramp to a swing set at Peaslee Elementary School.

According to Assistant Superintendent of Operations Keith Lavoie, the project cost $9,800 and was funded out of the facilities rental revolving account.

“Back in the spring, we identified that the way to get to one of the Peaslee swing sets was not conducive for all students,” Lavoie told the Northborough School Committee on Dec. 1. 

“We wanted make sure that we made an adjustment as quickly as we possibly could,” he continued. 

The swing set itself was accessible. But students couldn’t actually get to it in an accessible manner as it was surrounded by grass.

“There was a lot of creative ways of making that happen,” Lavoie said. “To [make] sure that the student is safe and the staff are safe and everything else, this was a needed improvement, and I’m glad that we were able to get it done.”

He said the district worked together with student support services and the Northborough Department of Public Works to make sure the equipment was accessible for all students. 

Lavoie said staff had to take the slope of the path to the swing set into account. Through what he described as “creative bulldozing,” workers were able to reduce the grade of that slope. 

Lavoie shared photos of the project, which committee members said they appreciated. 

“You can tell how much grading was done by how much grass was impacted. I can kind of gauge just from that,” said School Committee member Keith Lebel. 

The kids marveled at the construction process, Lavoie said. 

“These things get underestimated how pivotal they are for kids and for a facility, and we were just happy to get this opportunity to get it done,” Lavoie said.

Lavoie thanked DPW Director Scott Charpentier, who he said helped the district navigate the project. 

“When we were able to share a picture of a student that was able to get the access swinging in a swing, it made his year,” Lavoie said.

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