Maplesville Receives Grant

Maplesville High School received a grant totaling $5,000 for new playground equipment as part of a CAWACO grant on Tuesday, and served as a means of helping the school reach its $35,000 goal to purchase the new equipment.

The new equipment includes slides, chutes and ladders, as well as mulch put down to absorb the impact in case a child fell, among other items.

Fundraising for the purchase of the equipment, which was installed in December 2014, was led by sixth-grade teacher Brittany Yeargan.

“We had donations range from a student giving 75 cents, to $10,000,” Yeargan told the crowd at the presentation—which included Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster), Chilton County Schools Superintendent Tommy Glasscock and members of the Maplesville Town Council. “The kids love it.”

Yeargan said she felt the need to lead the charge on improving the equipment after seeing a number of safety concerns for students using the playground—including witnessing both a student break a finger on the equipment, as well as her own son suffering an injury while on the playground.

“We knew as a school and a community that our playground needed to be updated,” she said. “Basically, we knew that it was very outdated and a lot of injuries had taken place. I had my 5-year-old (son) break his arm, so that was an initiative for me to really try to do something that would provide a little more safety for the playground.”

Yeargan said the playground itself wasn’t the issue; instead, the equipment was simply in need of renovation.

“It wasn’t that the playground we had was out of shape, it just needed a little upgrade and something that could accommodate more children at one time,” she said.

Yeargan began to search for equipment, and said she found and offer from PlayCore, a company specializing in playground equipment.

“If we were to buy that (equipment) right now, that would be $50,000,” she said. “I ran across a special where they were offering (a deal) where if you could raise $25,000, they would match it 100 percent with the other $25,000. So, we were able to focus on the $25,000 mark, because we knew if we got to the $25,000 they would match us to be able to get the equipment.”

While the school was able to reach the $25,000 needed for the match, fundraising efforts continued in attempt to help pay to bring the equipment to the school as well as install it.

“We had to continue fundraising to get the remainder for the shipping and installation and safety perforation,” she said.”We also used a little money left over to replace every swing on all swing sets. We bought a total of 16 commercial grade swings.”

The cause needed around $10,000 more to complete the delivery and installation, and Yeargan said the $5,000 grant from CAWACO helped the fundraising effort meet its total.

“When I contacted CAWACO, we were still in need of about $4,900,” she said. “The grant amounts that you could request were $5,000 so that’s what I decided to request. The $5,000 was used to get us ‘over the hump.’ When I contacted CAWACO, we were still in need of about $4,900. The grant amounts that you could request were $5,000 so that’s what I decided to request.”

Yeargan said the real payoff is in the excitement shown by students who use the equipment.

“It will give you chill bumps to see them running and screaming,” she said. “It’s nonstop activity. Just to see them smile is worth it.”

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