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Get out and play

Athey Creek Parent Teacher Student Association installs new play structure


by: JENNIFER BUTTS - Volunteer Matt Butts, left, and Athey Creek Middle School Principal Joel Sebastian mix concrete for the new playground and fitness structure.Students at Athey Creek Middle School arrived to a surprise on the first day of school.

Sure the school received a facelift so-to-speak this summer as construction workers built an entranceway for the school and hung new panel walls in the gymnasium. Students also came back to a neon green playground and fitness structure.

The new chin-up bars, swing set and climbing structure were made possible by the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) and help from the school district.

“The kids expressed an interest in having a play structure three to four years ago,” said PTSA volunteer Jennifer Butts. “The eighth-grade natural helpers leadership group did a survey and there was a desire. They raised a little money and sort of got the ball rolling.”

The subject was brought up once again at a PTSA meeting last year and the rest is history. Last year, the PTSA raised approximately $2,500 during a fun run and a little more than $15,000 (only a portion of proceeds went to the play structure) during a garage sale.

The final structure cost just more than $12,000. Butts said the West Linn-Wilsonville School District donated approximately $2,000. District employees also prepared the grounds for the project and laid sod around the structure. Butts said the PTSA has more plans to install a wall ball area, tetherball and a ropes climbing feature similar to the one at Trillium Creek Primary School.

“My goal is to have something not just for the kids to play on but a sort of structure they could sit and hang out on,” Butts said.

The project was completed over Labor Day weekend by volunteers and Athey Creek Principal Joel Sebastian. Unlike other middle schools, Athey Creek doesn’t have a covered play structure or basketball courts. However, the new play/fitness structure may be incorporated into physical education classes — the chin-up bars are even adjustable for wheelchairs. Sebastian said overall he is pleased the PTSA got the ball rolling.

“It’s important for kids to be physically active and have healthy options in their free time,” he said. “The kids are fired up about it.”

by: JENNIFER BUTTS - Student Megan Talbert and volunteers Matt Butts, left, and Lloyd Hoots work on the structure. Talbert was 'level girl' as she worked hard to make sure all the equipment was installed correctly.