Flip This School Yard for our 100th Birthday
Created September 27, 2011 by Sandy Astles and Tammy Chatterton
Many years ago, the playground area at New Carlisle High School was built using treated lumber, now known to be harmful to children. Over the years, the equipment has deteriorated and has become perilous to the children who use it. In the past two years, injuries have become more frequent during recreational times, and have ranged from large splinters, lacerations resulting from protruding nails, and at least one broken limb. In June 2011, it became necessary to attempt to relocate this equipment and despite best efforts, the crumbling structures were not salvageable. As a result, the playground has now been reduced to one swing set, and a slide which remains a safety hazard to the 130 students currently enrolled. It is obvious that our students and community youth require and deserve a safe and stimulating outdoor space in which to freely explore and grow.
Winning this contest would rejuvenate the property and playground to create a safe, stimulating environment in which students and their families will play and learn. The playground of New Carlisle High School and Community Learning Centre serves the youth, representing a total of 6 neighbouring communities during the school day, and is a key gathering place for the youth of New Carlisle and surrounding towns after hours. In addition to contributing to healthy living through safe and stimulating activities throughout the day, the refurbished outdoor space will provide a sense of belonging and ownership for all who benefit from it afterhours.
At New Carlisle High School, we strive to provide a creative, inspired, innovative and safe outdoor environment for our youth. We promote optimal conditions to practice physical activity and are currently unable to fulfill our obligations because of a lack of modern and safe play-ground equipment.
In the long-term, the school campus will serve to give English-speaking youth a focus, a sense of pride and responsibility. It will significantly reduce vandalism and encourage socially appropriate behaviour. In addition, the introduction to healthy and stimulating outdoor recreational activities and programming will serve to enhance the overall health and appreciation for a physically active and holistically healthy lifestyle.
Reconstruction will involve assembling sturdy and durable PVC/metal structures which encourage exploration, movement and play for the youngest students. Middle school students will be challenged with structures geared towards fitness and healthy socialization. The addition of an athletic track and basketball court for senior students will enhance the high school athletic/fitness experience. Several outdoor seating areas will encourage a sense of belonging and ownership amongst older youth. While several references throughout this proposal encompass the youth and parent generation, it is noteworthy to explain that the terrain refurbishment will also attract programming designed for the community’s senior population. With a senior’s residence neighbouring the school yard, and programming already in the works under the scope of the new Fitness Centre to accommodate seniors, it is only practical that intergenerational activities be considered. We believe that this project is essential for the health and development of the New Carlisle community and distinctively promotes the English-speaking community as an asset and key player in the sustainability and development of the Gaspé Coast.