Amanda Elementary playground nears completion thanks to Kiwanis Club, community volunteers

The playground at Amanda Elementary School on Oxford-State Road nears completion on Monday after four days of work from Middletown Kiwanis members and community volunteers. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Caption
The playground at Amanda Elementary School on Oxford-State Road nears completion on Monday after four days of work from Middletown Kiwanis members and community volunteers. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Mulch is expected to be spread today, then playground will be open to the public.

Those instrumental in building an ADA approved playground at a Middletown elementary school believe the enjoyment will be worth the wait.

The Kiwanis Club of Middletown members and community volunteers spent four days assembling a playground at Amanda Elementary School. They had hoped to have the “Community Build” completed Saturday night, but progress was delayed when concrete, blocks, bricks and glass were hit while drilling holes for the support beams, said Henrietta Nye, co-chair of the project with the late Guy Stone.

Volunteers were back at the school Monday morning and they plan to spread yards of mulch today. A dedication is set for 4:30 p.m. Sept. 22, Nye said.

She said Amanda students saw the playground equipment before it was assembled Friday and when they arrived to school Monday morning their “eyes popped out.”

Kiwanian Marla Marsh said when the students saw the boxed equipment Friday “it was like Christmas because they knew something was about to happen.”

The playground will be named in memory of Guy Stone. His widow, Jackie, protected herself from the sunny morning by sitting under an umbrella as she watched the workers.

“I just wish he was here to see it completed,” she said of her husband, who died May 12. “It was a challenge and he was always about doing things for kids.”

She remembers a conversation her husband had with Nye. They talked about the cost of the project, estimated at $200,000. Nye said that was a lot of money for the service organization to raise. Stone insisted, his wife said.

“He was like a dog with a bone,” she said.

The project also received the financial support of the city. Middletown City Council approved a $45,000 grant from the CARES Act that requires the funds assist low- to moderate-income residents, said City Manager Jim Palenick. He said there are 407 students at Amanda and about 100 children living in surrounding neighborhoods. Of those, he said, 10 are children with autism and 10 are children with physical disabilities.

The Kiwanis also received funds from the Fondersmith Foundation through the Youth Council of the Middletown Community Foundation, the Middletown Kiwanis Club, and a State Farm Insurance grant.

The school’s playground equipment is 15 years old and features four swings. The playground faces heavily-traveled Oxford State Road and the new playground was constructed behind the school. Amanda Principal Beth Hendricks said a new playground will be “an awesome thing for our kids.”

The playground at Amanda Elementary School on Oxford-State Road nears completion on Monday after four days of work from Middletown Kiwanis members and community volunteers. The playground will be named in memory of Guy Stone, a longtime Kiwanian and co-chair of the project who died this year. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Caption
The playground at Amanda Elementary School on Oxford-State Road nears completion on Monday after four days of work from Middletown Kiwanis members and community volunteers. The playground will be named in memory of Guy Stone, a longtime Kiwanian and co-chair of the project who died this year. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The playground at Amanda Elementary School on Oxford-State Road nears completion on Monday after four days of work from Middletown Kiwanis members and community volunteers. The playground will be named in memory of Guy Stone, a longtime Kiwanian and co-chair of the project who died this year. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Caption
The playground at Amanda Elementary School on Oxford-State Road nears completion on Monday after four days of work from Middletown Kiwanis members and community volunteers. The playground will be named in memory of Guy Stone, a longtime Kiwanian and co-chair of the project who died this year. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF