Highland School officially opens new, accessible playground

highland playground ribboncutting

Highland School celebrated the grand opening of its brand new accessible playground during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the evening of Thursday, Aug. 26. The playground was funded in large part by the Climb Higher at Highland community group. 

“We are so excited to finally dedicate the new Highland playground!” said Highland Principal Zac Craft. “Words cannot express how proud I am of the Highland community. For the past three-plus years, this incredible community has worked hard to bring their vision of a new and accessible playground to life. We achieved our goal, and we have this fantastic new playground as a result. I want to thank Climb Higher at Highland for their vision and fundraising; District 58 and especially our Buildings and Grounds Department for their leadership, and the Highland community and our Board of Education for their support.”

Climb Higher at Highland formed in September 2018 after receiving Board of Education support for their playground initiative. The group aimed to raise funding to replace the school’s outdated playground.

According to Climb Higher at Highland’s webpage, “our goal is for all students and members of our community – whether they are typically functioning, in wheelchairs, use walkers or have leg braces, and those with physical, sensory, and motor impairments, to be able enjoy our playground as a participant, instead of as an observer.” 

In partnership with District 58, Climb Higher at Highland strategically raised money through fundraisers, corporate donations, and individual donations. This May, they donated $150,000 to District 58 to use for the construction of a new Highland School playground. 

“This project was truly a community effort, and I am so excited to see it come to fruition!” said Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell. “The District 58 community is incredibly supportive and child-centered, and the completion of this project is just another example of our community’s strength.”

The new playground equipment includes a climbing wall, a We-saw, an Oodle Swing and much more! These play structures are not only popular among children, they are all accessible for all! To save on costs, the Highland community united this summer to hold a community build, where they volunteered with the actual playground construction.