PORTAGE PARK — O. A. Thorp Scholastic Academy is looking for a few good volunteers to help build a new playground.
A 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.
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.
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