A recent golf scramble at the Belmont Hills Country Club in St. Clairsville was the latest effort by parent groups with SS. James and John School in Benwood to help raise $25,000 for construction of a playground for the students of school, said Jennifer Taylor, director of mission advancement.
Nearly $2,000 was raised from the golf scramble alone, said Taylor, noting this would be the "first ever" playground for the students at the school.
She said plans are being made to construct a new playground on a piece of property located at the corner of Seventh and Main streets in Benwood. The site is across the street from St. John Church and located less than a block from the school.
Taylor said they have always blocked off a section of street in front of the school for the kids to play during their lunchtime break.
"It will be a huge improvement - not only a safety improvement but also a recreation and health improvement," said Taylor. "Allowing the little kids to climb and be a little more active during recess is not only good for their health but is good for their academics. ... It allows them that release during the day and to kind of take a break from school work,"she added.
Taylor said nearly $1,000 was raised during the school's Spring Expo held May 6.
She said their goal is to try and raise the remainder of the necessary funds over the summer months so they can plan for a fall groundbreaking.
"I have a $15,000 grant request out currently ... I don't have an answer on that yet, so once we find that out that obviously will kind of determine whether or not a fall groundbreaking is feasible," she added.
Taylor said one of the nice things about the playground equipment they plan to purchase is that it can be purchased in sections - allowing the school the opportunity to build one section at a time.
She said anyone interested in making a donation toward the expense of the new playground can call the school office at 304-232-1587.