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MPSD Announces New Handicapped Accessible Playgrounds with Ribbon Cutting

The Meridian Public School District is proud to announce the completed construction of two handicapped accessible playgrounds located at Parkview Elementary and T.J. Harris Elementary Schools. A ribbon cutting was held at the lower campus of T.J. Harris Elementary Thursday to mark the official opening of the playgrounds.


“This playground project was designed to allow students with physical disabilities the opportunity to access regular outdoor play and participate in playground activities that many of them have not been afforded in the past,” said Christie Rowcliff, MPSD Director of Exceptional Child Education. “While there are other playgrounds in the Meridian area, these are the only ones that offer specialized equipment to serve children confined to wheelchairs and with other physical disabilities.”


The T.J. Harris and Parkview campuses were chosen primarily because the schools are currently serving the most students with severe disabilities. The campuses were also chosen because they are adjoined to middle school campuses allowing the playgrounds to serve even more students.


“The playgrounds provide a place for students to work not only on gross motor skills but on socialization as well,” said Jenny Lewis, Physical Therapist for MPSD Office of Exceptional Child Education. “Access to ‘play’ is something all children deserve to be included in, and these playgrounds provide that opportunity.”


MPSD utilized American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant funds provided by the Mississippi Department of Education’s Office of Special Education to construct this project. This grant allows the district to provide additional resources to students with disabilities, and this project makes up approximately 19 percent of the $1.7 million grant. As part of ARRA requirements, competitive bids were advertised, and the bid was awarded to Planet Recess of Baton Rouge, La., a licensed installer of Playworld Systems.


Over two years in the making, MPSD worked closely with local architect B.B. Archer to ensure the project met Americans with Disabilities Act and ARRA requirements while providing the maximum amount of participation to students with disabilities.

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