Otisfield parents, PTO raising funds new school playground

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NEED SUPPORT — A group of parents at the Otisfield Community School are raising money to get a new playground built for the students.

OTISFIELD — Parents of children going to Otisfield Community School are attempting to raise enough money to replace the school’s playground with newer, safer equipment.

Melissa Hutchinson, a member of the Otisfield Community School PTO and a parent to a first-grader at the school, said that the school’s playground is “made up of all old metal equipment.”

“One of the teachers at the school told us that the equipment has been there since it was built,” Hutchinson said. “The playground has one slide with super high stairs that looks super old-fashioned, a set of swings, and one set of monkey bars.”

She added that the students, who range from kindergarteners to sixth-graders, don’t have a variety of equipment to use when they go outside.

“The school’s sixth graders used to go to Oxford, and they’ve recently started coming back here,” Hutchinson said. “However, there’s not really anything for them to do on the playground. As for the monkey bars, they’re too high for kindergarteners.”

Hutchinson said that during the winter, the steps on the slide are “too slippery” for the kids.

For the last couple of years, Hutchinson and many of the students’ parents have been attempting to raise money to get new equipment for the playground, but with “only 98 students” enrolled at the school, she said it’s difficult to find enough parents or residents willing to donate money.

“We’ve done fundraisers in the past, but we’re not quite there yet,” she said. “It’s a beautiful little spot, but the school is way out there. It doesn’t get as much love and attention as the other schools.”

Hutchinson said that many of the students she’s spoken to, including her own daughter, have indicated they want a new structure, a new slide, and “tunnels.”

“When it gets icy and slippery in the winter, there are just no options for students,” she said. “I wish there was something there made of plastic instead of steel.”

The school’s PTO, known informally as the “Supporters of the Otisfield Community School,” is seeking to place donation jars at the town’s transfer station, though Hutchinson said she’s unsure if that will happen.

She said that if people want to donate money toward the playground, they can either call the Otisfield Community School and speak with Nancy Norcross, the secretary of the school and treasurer of the PTO, or speak to someone on the Supporters of the Otisfield Community School Facebook page.

mdaigle@sunmediagroup.net