CANTON — Workers began installing a new playground at Cherry Brook Primary School on Monday and officials anticipate that it will be completed by the time students return to school in the fall.
The start of work is a milestone for the project, which the school's parent teacher organization started last fall. Between fundraisers, donations, grants and contributions from the town along with the board of education the PTO raised $131,500 for the new playground. Some unexpected issues that came up when the town's public works department prepared the site for the new equipment are expected to push the cost of the project up to $136,500, PTO member Tracy Renaud said.
"It's start and we are very excited," school Principal Andrew Robbin said on Tuesday. "To come in to school yesterday and see nothing there and come in today and see them putting things in was amazing. We are told that the big pieces should be in place by the end of this week or the start of next week."
Fundraising for the project was handled entirely by the PTO. In a letter sent out in July, PTO leaders credited the community for its support in helping them raise the funds more quickly than originally anticipated.
"This is a tribute to the town and to the people in charge of this project. They are special people and we are lucky," Robbin said.
The town's public works department donated time and labor to tear down the old playground equipment and prepare the site for construction and will be back at the site in late August to do some more work. In June, the board of education contributed $10,000 and PTO leaders said at the time that was crucial since it gave them enough money to order the new equipment in time for it to be installed this month.
In their letter, PTO leaders said 25 local community groups, businesses and families each gave $500 for the project. In addition, 14 others gave smaller donations while the town public works department, school staff and local businesses gave in-kind donations.
The playground that is being replaced was aging and deteriorating. It is one of two playgrounds at Cherry Brook and the next project for the PTO will be to replace the second one, which is for smaller children in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. Robbin said he anticipates meeting with the PTO's executive board next week to plan out fundraising and other events for the upcoming school year.
In addition to donations to pay for the unexpected expenses with the first playground the PTO will start raising money this fall for the second one. Checks can be made out to CBPS PTO and mailed to the PTO at 4 Barbortown Road, Canton 06019. The CBPS PTO is a 501c(3) organization, so all donations are tax deductible, according to PTO official.