The yard at Alexander Adaire Elementary School, 1300 E. Palmer St., looks much like many other schoolyards in the city.
It is bleak, bare and devoid of any playground equipment for its 450 pupils. However, the school’s new principal, Jenette Oddo, is trying to change that.
Since her arrival last year, Oddo said she has imagined building a modern “social” playground, complete with a picnic area and garden on the site of the existing schoolyard.
That dream came one step closer to becoming a reality in October, when Adaire received a grant from the Penn Treaty Special Services District to partly fund the building of a brand new, child-friendly social playground.
In addition to the 1,300 square-foot playground area, the playground will include a garden, a recess area with picnic benches, a faculty parking area, a mosaic mural on the facade of the lobby entrance, and a tree dedicated to the memory of Eric Spicer, an Adaire teacher who passed away in 2009.
While the majority of the funding for the project is expected to come from the PTSSD, it will not cover all of the costs.
Oddo, along with the members of the Adaire Home and School Association, came up with an idea to raise the remaining money. The foundation of the school is made up of 571 individual bricks — these bricks will be offered to pupils and their families at a cost of $10 each.
The pupil’s or the family’s name will then be engraved on a small metal plaque and placed on the brick. The project is being referred to as “Become a Part of Adaire’s Foundation.”
When the bidding process was complete, Playworld Systems of central Pennsylvania was selected as the vendor for the project.
Playworld touts itself as an “environmentally friendly” manufacturer — in it’s equipment, it uses so-called “Eco-Armor,” a durable thermoplastic coating averaging a 38 percent lower carbon footprint than traditional PVC coatings.
Idilia Venti, whose son, Roderick, attends the first grade at Adaire, is thrilled with the idea of a new playground.
“All children should have access to a playground; it’s a rite of passage for a child,” she said. “A playground and garden will stimulate creative play and enhance communication among the children.”
Oddo said she is a big believer in the importance of incorporating play into a child’s school day.
“In the end, our students put so much into their academic achievement that it would be wonderful if we could provide them with a space that they could relax and have fun being a kid,” Oddo said.
If all goes as planned, the project is expected to be under way by the spring of 2013.
The “foundation bricks” also are available to school alumni, neighbors and local businesses. Oddo said she is especially hoping that local businesses will support the project and make significant donations.
Adaire foundation bricks are available immediately and can be purchased at the following price points:
•$10: Engraved small plaque with student or family name in silver (this is for current students only).
•$25: Engraved small plaque with student or family name in gold (this is for students - past or present and/or neighborhood residents).
•$50: Engraved small plaque with business name in silver (for businesses).
•$100: Engraved large silver plaque with business/family name in preferred location of building
•$500: Engraved large gold plaque with business/family name in preferred location of building, along with special invitation to all school events, as well as recognition at graduation each year with an award titled in their name and given to a deserving graduate.
Anyone wishing to donate to the Adaire playground project and have a commemorative brick in the school’s foundation should contact Jenette Oddo at 215-291-4712.
Contributor Greg Pacana can be reached at email@example.com.