By Terry Dean
A school playground has never been more welcome than at Oak Park's Ascension School.
On Saturday, July 20, volunteers were out at Ascension, 601 Van Buren St., to put together the new playground for preschoolers. The would-be craftsmen, and women, worked from the early morning till around noon.
The playground is one piece to a larger vision for that grassy section near Ascension where the rectory once stood, says Principal Mary Jo Burns. The playground is built in a corner of the large green space. More outdoor recreational space is slated for the area, Burns said, including play space for the older students. But years of playing on asphalt just wasn't cutting it anymore for the little kids, Burns said.
About two-dozen volunteers helped assemble the preschool playground. It cost about $40,000, including the price of a rubberized surface installed for students' safety. The money comes from Ascension's capital budget and from the kind donation of an unnamed family. The playground is expected to be completed by Aug. 20 when school starts.
"Play is an important part of their school, as important as academics," Burns said. "This is really the starting point for our, what we call our Safe Play Plans. We'd like to do something for our older kids, and would like to do it in that open space."