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O.A. Thorp Playground Design Chosen

  The playground will be built Aug. 9, in time for the 2014-15 school year. 
Thorp Playground Design
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PORTAGE PARK — O. A. Thorp Scholastic Academy's new playground will be red and blue — and feature a steel spiderweb designed to allow children of all ages and abilities to play together off the ground.

An online survey picked both the colors and the design from four options presented to parents and school officials, who have been working for two years to turn the empty area surrounding the school at 6024 W. Warwick Ave. into a campus park.

KaBoom! announced in April that the Portage Park magnet school had won a grant worth between $200,000 and $250,000 to build a playground for Thorp's 832 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

The playground will be built Aug. 9 by Kaboom! and hundreds of volunteers.

Voters picked a red and blue color scheme for the playground over green, yellow and orange as well as blue, purple and turquoise.

The winning design was the only one to include a climbing wall, known as a Triumph Climber, with various difficulty levels designed to allow kids to play together, regardless of their ability.

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.

Friends of Thorp, a parent group, has raised more than $50,000 to build a campus park around the school. 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.

Ald. Tim Cullerton (38th) contributed another $50,000 from his discretionary budget. The campus park will be open to the public as well as students.

Those interested in volunteering to build the playground can email thorpplayground@gmail.com.

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