Published: Aug 30, 2006 08:31 AM
Modified: Aug 31, 2006 04:38 PM
Recess-loving students climb higher
Letter-writing comapign brings 'climb-a-saurus' to Carrboro Elementary
CARRBORO -- Like the silvery back of the Loch Ness Monster, the structure rises from the Carrboro Elementary playground's surface.'Tis the "climb-a-saurus," a harmless creature brought about by a handful of recess-loving youngsters and an unusual windfall.The climb-a-saurus is actually a dinosaur-shaped climbing wall.For years, the school's PTA has hoped to improve the playground, now filled with sturdy but old-school metal and wood equipment."We wanted to add some variety to the playground," said Cyndy Weeks, who looks after playground issues for the PTA.Enter the Cartoon Network. Several months ago, as part of a campaign to prevent testing-driven administrators from quashing recess, it made an offer to school kids:Mail in hand-written letters declaring a love for recess -- more than any school in your state -- and we'll give your school's PTA $5,000 for the playground.Carrboro Elementary, with 13 letters, was North Carolina's winner."We were very surprised and thrilled to get it," said Jennifer Curtis, a parent who helped organize the letter drive. "Not that the recess issue has diminished, but they'll be having more fun when they're out there."On the playground Tuesday morning, to the backdrop of swing set creaks and playtime squeals, three men gave rise to the beast.So far, the climb-a-saurus is a 6-foot-tall hump full of holes.Builder Art Scherer and his two workers will soon install green, brown and gray climbing holds for kids to grip.A sandbed will cushion falls. And the 33-foot-long slanted wall itself is made of a composite material. That means no splinters. And it doesn't get slick in the rain."This will probably still be here 100 years from now," said Scherer, owner of Go-Out-and-Play, a custom construction outfit that specializes in play equipment.Despite local donations, the climb-a-saurus will probably come in several thousand dollars above its $5,000 budget. Carrboro's Fitch Lumber pitched in some wood and Elmo's Diner contributed money.The PTA is seeking someone to add a cement head and tail. But somewhere around the climb-a-saurus, the PTA plans to install a plaque in tribute to the students who wrote those 13 letters.A reminder, Curtis said, that a little effort can make a pretty big difference.
Contact staff writer Patrick Winn at 932-8742 or firstname.lastname@example.org