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Community Playground Coming to Madison Elementary School on Wheeling Island

Photo by Scott McCloskey Madison Elementary kindergarten students react after being told they are getting a new playground at the school.

WHEELING — Students at Madison Elementary School got an end of the school year surprise Friday.

A new playground – open to the community – will be constructed at the school this summer with some help from the House of the Carpenter.

The organization is donating a significant amount of supplies and material to construct a playground at Madison Elementary, Superintendent Kim Miller told board members.

“A memorandum of understanding was designed so we can keep moving on with this gift,” she said.

The planned playground will be constructed on the current asphalted area at the back of the school running along Maryland Avenue, according to principal Andrea Trio.

The agreement states Madison Elementary students will be using the playground, and children from the House of the Carpenter will come there at designated times during the day.

Board President David Croft said while the playground would be open to the community, he wanted some flexibility in the agreement to provide ability for Ohio County Schools to monitor the playground — and be able to close it if there are times of the day when the property is abused.

“It will be ours, and we want it to make sure it is taken care of and available to the public,” he said. “But at the same time, if there is abuse, we want the right to modify the hours of when it’s used. I would hate to find ourselves bound to an agreement where it is open all the time, and there is consistent abuse at a particular time and we can’t close it down.”

It is the intent of the House of the Carpenter that when the playground is complete, it will be gifted to Ohio County Schools, and become the school district’s property, according to Miller.

“In fact, it would be a community playground, and the same designated restrictions we have at other community playgrounds in Ohio County Schools would be applicable to this playground, as well,” she said.

The agreement was approved with an amendment stating use of the playground would be at the discretion of Ohio County Schools.

Madison Elementary Principal Andrea Trio said an event will be held Wednesday to officially announce the playground to the community with representatives of the House of the Carpenter expected to be present.

Officials at the House of the Carpenter could not be reached for comment Friday.

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