Gaston County school works to create playground that is accessible to all

Gaston County school works to create playground that is accessible to all

GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A school in Gaston County is working to create a playground that is accessible to all, no matter what the case may be.

Webb Street School serves over 160 students with developmental and intellectual disabilities, and the school is working to upgrade their playground so that all their students can enjoy it.

"It became a much bigger project when we saw the need that our community had," PTO President Talia Wucherer said. "We have several kids right now that can't interact so instead they get to watch their peers play."

The plan is to create an inclusive accessible playground with a rubber surface, wheelchair accessible swings, wheelchair ramps and more features that stimulate the student's senses.

"Students that have mobility issues and challenges would be able to access and interact with typically developing students on the actual playground," Kelli Howe, the Principal of Webb Street School, said. "It will allow the opportunity to play and interact with other children."

According to experts, playgrounds are vital for a child's cognitive, emotional, physical and social development. An inclusive playground will address the needs of all the students.

"The mulch that we have makes it very difficult for the wheelchairs to roll on and it makes it very difficult for anyone with mobility issues," Wucherer said. "All they can do is roll up to the playground but not play on the playground or enjoy the playground."

For parents like Trina Beasley, an area like this will allow her daughter to experience what other children get to.

"I think it allows them the chance to have the interpersonal relationships that we take for granted on a daily basis," Beasley said.

Beasley's daughter has been in a chair for her entire life.

"She loves movement and can't do it on her own," Beasley said.  "We try and give her as much of the same experiences as we can."

The school says the outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming.

"Every time we have turned to the community for help for this project, they have said we are here to help," Wucherer said.

However, the school is still about $100,000 short from moving forward with the project. If you would like to donate to the project, you can do so by clicking here. All donations are tax deductible.

"It will allow all of them to play side by side and play together. Just be equals," Trina Beasley said.

Once complete, the area will be open to anyone.

"There are almost 300 students just in the Gaston County School District alone that have special needs and would benefit from this specifically designed playground structure," Howe said. "The playground will be open after school hours and on weekends for the Gaston County community."

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