Playground Improvements – Summer 2016

In August of 2016, there were many improvements that were made to the playground at NES. The shed was moved and renovated, the fire truck was installed, two new musical instruments were added, the little kids zip line was repaired, the big kids zip line steps were raised and the stump walk was installed.  There has been an overwhelming amount of appreciation and positive feedback about all of the playground improvements from the Children, from the NES Teachers & Staff, from Principal Megan Desmarais and also from Town Administrator, Brian Noble. THANK YOU to all of the volunteers that spent many, many (very hot & humid) days at the school working hard to make it a better place for our Children and the Teachers.

The Shed Project – Total Cost $635.52 (breakdown of cost to build the Shed)

There is a shed on the playground at Northfield Elementary School that stores the bikes, scooters, and sand toys that the preschool and kindergarten children play with during recess.  The bikes and scooters are essential for gross motor development in children and the sand toys help to develop fine motor skills and sensory.  All of the outside play toys teach the children to share and aid in their social development.  Our kids are lucky to have these toys available to them.

Last October, it was brought to the attention of Cheryl George (PTO Co-Chair) that this shed was in severe disrepair. There were holes in the floor that the teachers had to walk around so they didn’t fall through and injure themselves, there was a hole in the roof where the tree branches above were poking through and the rain water entered, and the entire shed was just sitting on the ground which caused the sill to rot.  It was determined that the floor and roof were beyond repair, but the “bones” of the shed were still in good condition.  It was also determined that it made more sense to have the shed closer to the pavement in order to make it easier for the Teachers to access the bikes and toys.

After much thought and research, the decision was made to move the shed.  At first, it seemed like a crazy idea!  But in the end, it turned out to be the best decision and there is now a newer and much safer shed on the playground at NES that all of the Teachers and Staff can use to store the playground toys for all of the children.

This project was only successful because of the help given by many dedicated people.

The PTO would like to send a HUGE Thank You to…

  • Craig George for designing and building the new foundation deck that the shed sits on, taking off the old roof, preparing the shed to be moved, helping with the actual moving of the shed, putting on the new roof, building the new ramp, building a shelf inside the shed, installing the new hardware and for the many trips to the store to purchase supplies
  • Caleb Dillensneider, owner of Deerfield Valley Refab & Crane, for bringing his crane to the school and actually moving the shed!
  • Rich Fitzgerald for helping to remove the old roof, helping with the actual moving of the shed, helping to put on the new roof
  • Deb Potee, Missy Kalinowski, Kelly Gagnon and Cheryl George for staining the shed
  • Cheryl George for power washing the shed
  • Kelly Gagnon and Amy Hendricks for organizing and cleaning the toys
  • Steve Gagnon for installing the lattice and wire mesh around the bottom of the shed
  • Home Depot in Greenfield for donating $300 worth of lumber to build the new foundation deck
  • Leader Home Center in Greenfield for donating the shingles for the new roof
  • Home Depot in Keene for donating the new hardware (hinges and latch), lattice and wire mesh

As you can see from the before and after pictures, the change is dramatic and just goes to show what a small group of people working together can accomplish. Thank you again to everyone that helped with this project. Your help is truly appreciated!

Shed - BEFORE (October 2015)Shed - AFTER (August 2016)

                             Shed – BEFORE                                                                           Shed – AFTER







Fire Truck – Total Cost $59.41 (breakdown of cost to install the fire truck)

This fire truck was rescued from behind the Leverett town garage by Craig George.  It was given to the PTO, but was in need of some repair.  Over the course of a year, Brian Wood, owner of Northfield Auto Body, sanded and repainted the fire truck piece by piece. THANK YOU Brian for your time and effort to make this fire truck look brand new again.  The PTO would also like to say THANK YOU to the following people…

  • Craig George for leading this project from start to finish…bringing the truck to Brain to be painted, digging the holes for the sonotubes (and removing those big rocks that were found), mixing and pouring the concrete, getting the donation of new hardware from Fastenal, installing the new seat and floor
  • Rich Fitzgerald & Michael Dubin for helping to dig all those holes (and moving those rocks!), for moving all that dirt and for helping to mix and pour the concrete
  • Chris & Missy Kalinowski for bringing over their tractor and spreading all of that new mulch
  • Home Depot of Keene for donating the decking for the seat and floor
  • Fastenal of Greenfield for donating all new hardware

The children have enjoyed this new addition to the playground and the PTO has received a lot of thank yous! fire-truck-picfire-truck-after









Musical Instruments – Total Cost $5,022.85 (breakdown of cost to install the instruments)

Two new musical instruments, the Pagoda Bells and the Melody, were added to the playground this summer to complete the musical circle. Thank you to Craig George, Steve Gagnon and Michael Dubin for digging the holes, pouring the concrete and setting the poles. Thank you to Kelly Gagnon, Missy Kalinowski and Cheryl George for installing the new pieces. The new instruments sound wonderful and the children enjoy playing them!



The Stump Walk

The Stump Walk has been installed on the playground! Thank you to Lara Dubin for organizing this project and thank you to Michael Dubin for manning the 16″ hydraulic auger for making the holes. Thank you to Amy Grover, Rich Fitzgerald, Ella Dubin, Aiden Aldrich, and Juliette Potee for helping to dig out the holes, heft the huge logs around, and spread the mulch. Thank you to Cory Norwood for cutting up the black locust tree that was used as stumps. Thanks to Chris Kalinowski for coming over with his tractor and digging out a shallow trench for the log area and moving the logs closer for us. The children are having a lot of fun on this new addition to the playground!

stump-walk-1 stump-walk-2












The Zip Lines

A HUGE Thank You to Joe Stacy for taking on the task of fixing the two zip lines! With a simple fix, the little kids zip line is now working again and being enjoyed by the kids. Mulch has been added under the zip line to make it easier for the little kids to reach. Joe, Holly Stacy and Michael Dubin raised the steps on the big kids zip line which now makes it much easier for the kids to reach. Thank you everyone for your hard work!

little-kids-zip-line big-kids-zip-line

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