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Upper Arlington Volunteers Building Special Needs-Friendly Playground

UPPER ARLINGTON (Terri Sullivan/Ken Hines) -- Lots of sweat equity and muscle power will go into the construction of a playground for children with special needs -- and all of it will be fueled by volunteers.

The Upper Arlington volunteers are building the playground in a side yard at Barrington Elementary School to give some special needs students a new sense of freedom and fun.

"This is something we're really excited about," Barrington Elementary Principal Jason Fine said of the project, which is a year-and-a-half in the making.

Volunteers said a mom with two special needs students in the school came up with the idea for the project, which will make playground equipment available to all children.

"We've got the multiple disabilities unit in our building," Fine said. "We wanted to create something, not just for our students with disabilities, but for all of our 730 students to access so we can be one community."

When completed, the playground will include climbing walls, slides, and a giant glider that can accommodate a wheelchair and 12 classmates.

"It has the right ramps and slopes for children in wheelchairs," said Upper Arlington Fire Chief Jeff Young, one of the volunteers working on the project. "It'll have unique climbing features, [and] complete playground access for kids who have trouble getting across mulch and loose stuff."

Construction on the playground starts Wednesday at 7 a.m. The crew hopes to have everything in place by Friday.
 
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