CRANBURY: Playing in style – Two-year ‘playscape’ initiative now complete

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Phase I of the new “playscape” was funded by the Cranbury Education Foundation (CEF)

By Amy Batista, Special Writer
CRANBURY – Cranbury School students can now play in style, thanks to the addition of a new playground at the school.
“We are excited to announce that the newest addition to the Cranbury School playground equipment has been installed and our children could not be happier,” said Dr. Susan Genco, chief school administrator and principal.
She said that Phase I of the new “playscape” was funded by the Cranbury Education Foundation (CEF), an organization that works on behalf of Cranbury School students and staff.
“In the past, the CEF has funded technology purchases, as well as the stage lighting system in the auditorium,” she said. “The CEF raises funds through donations as well as through fundraising events such as the Fall Festival and the annual Craft Show, which serves as the CEF’s capstone fundraising effort.”
Collectively, hundreds of adult and student volunteers worked together to ensure the success of each event, she added.
The cost of the playground project was $75,000 and equipment was purchased through General Recreation, Inc., said Jill Frost, president of CEF.
“There is a newer piece of playground equipment that is used by the lower grade students, but the older children were still playing on old equipment that was outdated,” Ms. Frost said, adding that it was geared toward the fourth through eighth-grade students.
She said that CEF believed there was a need for updated equipment that would be new and exciting for the students.
“The new modern structure has unique features that are both challenging and fun, enticing children to be more active at recess,” she said.
The playground features a roller slide, modern monkey bars, climbing rings, webbing, sliding handles and social gathering areas. It is designed to promote socialization as well as physical activity in a safe environment, according to Ms. Frost.
Dr. Genco thanked the CEF, which includes Ms. Frost, Theresa Vaccaro, Sandy Price, Shailaja Suryawanshi, Nancy Whitcraft, Penny Ftikas, Susan Kasziba, Dana McMahon, Nilufer Shaikhi and Luisa Tauro.
“The installation of the playscape was a two-year initiative, which included the formation of a schoolwide Playground Committee, which met several times to review playscape renderings and discuss the type of playscape that would benefit Cranbury School students,” said Dr. Genco.
Playground Committee members included Jay Gilligan, Cathy Elliott, Maureen Johnston, Dawn Mozzi, Heather Odman, Andrea Kaplan, Kara Paul, Barbara O’Connell, Jill Frost, Theresa Vaccaro, Dave Gallagher, Michele Waldron and Nicholas Bice.
“We have had a lot of positive feedback from students, parents, teachers and the administration, and the playground looks completely updated with the addition of this new structure,” Ms. Frost said.
She said that it is wonderful to see so many happy faces enjoying the new equipment.
“It is a great addition to the newly installed gaga pit that CEF purchased earlier in the year,” she said. “Our board works very hard to raise money in order to provide our students with amenities like this, as well as provide them with educational tools to enhance their learning. We pride ourselves in the support we can give to the students and the faculty at Cranbury School and hope we are also contributing to our town being such a wonderful place to raise children.”
Ms. Frost said that this summer, CEF would be replacing the current swing set, which only has four swings, with a new eight-swing structure.
“We are excited this additional upgrade to the playground will be completed before the children return in the fall,” she said.
Ms. Frost said CEF has funded many projects throughout those years, but this has been its biggest capital project to date.
“I am so glad that we were able to complete the playground ahead of schedule and that it will be enjoyed by all of the children in Cranbury for many years to come,” she said.