Volunteers Needed to Build New O.A. Thorp Playground

By Heather Cherone on July 10, 2014 3:16pm 

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  A grant from KaBoom! will pay for the 2,500-square-foot playground at the Portage Park school.
Volunteers Needed for O.A. Thorp Playground
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PORTAGE PARK — O. A. Thorp Scholastic Academy is looking for a few good volunteers to help build a new playground.

grant from KaBoom!, funded by Dr Pepper and Snapple, will provide between $200,000 and $250,000 to build a playground for Thorp's 832 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Still, approximately 200 volunteers are needed Aug. 9 to build the red and blue play structure, organizers said.

Construction of the playground is the first major step in implementing a $2 million master plan created more than a year ago that is designed to transform the "barren asphalt landscape" that now surrounds the school.

Organizers with Friends of Thorp, a parent group that raised $50,000 for the campus park plan, also needs 40 volunteers to prepare for construction on Aug. 7 and Aug. 8. 

The deadline to volunteer is Aug. 1.

Volunteers do not need special training or equipment, organizers said.

Groups of 10 may register online as a group, but volunteers may not wear corporate-branded clothing. Those who wish to donate tools can register online as well.

An online vote chose the design of the playground, which will feature a steel spider web designed to allow children of all ages and abilities to play together off the ground outside the school at 6024 W. Warwick Ave.

It also features a Superdome, a semi-spherical jungle gym designed to develop coordination and body strength.

Without the KaBoom! grant, Thorp students would have had to wait until 2018 for a playground to be built, according to Chicago Public Schools officials.

Along with a playground, plans call for a grassy field for soccer and other sports, benches and an improved running track.

In addition, the master plan envisions a rain garden with natural plants and birdhouses to help students learn about science, as well as natural play areas.

For more information, email thorpplayground@gmail.com.

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