In January 2002, Walker School opened an innovative and compelling playground. Nothing like it existed between San Francisco and Portland. It is now a permanent community/regional asset that allows children with physical disabilities and able-bodied children to play together. Childern who use wheelchairs could not spin their wheels in wood fiber, pea gravel or sand of traditional playgrounds but, after instillation at behind Walker, they could enjoy a safe, rollable rubberized surface throughout our playground.
The playground was made possible by wide-spread community support. Ashland School District provided the majority of the funding as each elementary school gained a new playground. Other large contributions came from the Ford Family Foundation, Jackson County Developmental Disabilities, Hasbro Children's Foundation, Ashland Rotary, Soroptimists, Ashland Community Hospital, Providence Hospital, Asante Health Systems, an Anonymous Donor, the Walker PTO and many businesses and individual donors. The Playground Committee, led by Linda Hilligoss and Mary Ellen Cole, raised $185,000 for the project. The additional funding was necessary to create a playstructure with extensive ramps and a rubberized surface around the entire structure.
Krauss Craft of Cave Junction, OR designed and manufactured the structure with a spirit of collaboration and innovation. Spectraturf Inc, CA provided the attractive surface material at a very reasonable price. Steve Lawrence labored in all weather conditions to prepare the ground and install the equipment.
This playground manifests our values for living and learning in that we have a playspace that invites children of all abilities to play together, developing strong bodies and healthy social skills. Children's work IS their play and what a glorious area we have created for that to occur. The playground is open for public use after school hours, during weekends and school holidays.