LEHMAN TWP. — Reviews on the new Lehman-Jackson Elementary School playground are in and stamped with kid-approval.
“It is very fun,” said Sydney Sleyo, a fifth-grader.
Her friend, Alexi Chervenitski, who is also in fifth grade, agreed. “There are more things to do (on the new playset) than the last one,” she said.
The wilderness-themed playground unit, which includes several slides, a rock wall, bridges, climbing bars and more, replaced an antiquated monkey bar unit, said Donald James, principal of the Lehman-Jackson Elementary School.
“Only three or four children could be on it (the monkey bars) at one time,” said Christin Snyder, current Parent-Teacher Organization president.
In 2013, the PTO, which was led by past president Suzanne Cercone, saw the need for new playground equipment and initiated a three-year fundraising campaign to raise half of the $86,000 cost to purchase and install “Wilderness Hideaway” unit.
The commitment from the 293-member PTO was not its only fundraiser. The Lehman-Jackson Elementary School PTO also raises up to $18,000 for various extracurricular events and field trips for students throughout the school year.
To finance the Wilderness Hideaway Playset, the PTO organized and held a variety of fundraisers including hosting the basketball entertainment group Harlem Wizards, selling popcorn at Fourth of July Fireworks display, and concession sales from sporting events at the Back Mountain Regional Recreational Complex on Outlet Road in Lehman Township, Snyder said.
“We had a lot of support from the local business community,” Snyder said. “The Dallas Rotary was one of our sponsors.”
Snyder said the PTO also applied for grants to help cover the costs.
The playground equipment cost $70,000; installation was $16,000, James said. The PTO acquired a grant for $12,600, he said.
The PTO raised about $41,000, and the school district contributed $41,000, James said.
The result of their efforts and community support was put to the test when two fifth grade classes were dismissed for recess on the first day of school.
Dozens of 10- and 11-year-olds climbed, slid and ran around the new playground equipment.
“It is really cool,” said Cheyanna Snyder while hanging upside down. “I really like the jungle theme.”
“I like the rock wall,” Seth Berry said. “It is better than last year.”
The playground equipment is available for families to use during weekends and after-school hours, Christin Snyder said.
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews