PITTSFIELD, Maine — It was a hot and steamy day in central Somerset County on Saturday, but that didn’t stop some hardy volunteers from donating their time for some local youths.
The Pittsfield Parent Teacher Organization, along with MSAD 53, added some new playground equipment at the Vickery School on Saturday, and the 15 folks who volunteered certainly put in a full day’s work.
“We started at 8 o’clock that morning and we didn’t get done until 9 o’clock that night,” said PTO member and Vickery School teacher Jolene Thies. “It was just like ‘Survivor.’”
A high percentage of the volunteers were parents of children in the school, Thies said.
Work started on Wednesday, when an old slide was removed from the grounds to make room for a new set of swings.
The old slide will be donated to the town of Pittsfield and installed at Hathorn Park, according to Thies.
“They’re going to put it in and make sure that everything’s safe, and it’s going to be able to be used by kids [in] the town,” Thies said.
The equipment at the Vickery School, which houses pupils in grades one through four, includes a double slide and fitness structure featuring a rock wall, spider climber, outrigger climber and steps.
The Vickery School has expanded somewhat in terms of student population, as the 2010 closing of the Burnham School, which housed kindergarten students, sent those kids to the Manson Park School.
Manson Park also housed pre-K students, and first-graders went from Manson Park to Vickery, driving the need for more playground equipment.
“We needed something that was adaptable to all grade levels,” Thies said.
The PTO also held a number of fundraising activities which included a shopping extravaganza, scrapbooking event, wreath sales, a spaghetti supper and basket raffle and a movie night. When the funding came up short of the $12,000 goal, the PTO dipped into its own money.
“We’ve been able to have some of that extra money in [the] reserve [fund],” Thies said. “We were able to take it from [the PTO].”
Fundraising activities lasted for about a year, Thies said.
She added that the new equipment will be great for parents and kids alike.
“If you really are going to play with the kids in Pittsfield, you go to one of the schools,” she said. “It enables kids to be able to have another place to go.”
And from a teaching standpoint, the project will be a positive one for the students.
“As a teacher, it is a welcome addition,” Thies said. “I’m just so excited for the kids to be able to see it their first day of school and have something different.”
School opens for students on Aug. 31.