Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Wanted: a little grass, more room to play

[IMAGE] There's parking space, but not much room for recreation for Adrianna Hayes, 13, a seventh-grader at Vine Elementary.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
Seventh-grader Adrianna Hayes has attended Vine Elementary in Mount Auburn since preschool.

The 43-year-old school, on 4 acres in a dense urban area, is slated to close in 2009 as part of the school district's plan to build 35 schools and renovate 31 others over the next decade. The district plans to operate 14 fewer schools after completing the nearly $1 billion project.

State assessors say Vine's electrical systems and roof need replacement. The single-pane windows and water boilers are in poor condition.

While Adrianna, 13, likes her teachers, principal and the school, she admits Vine lacks ideal outdoor play space.

"A little grass or a garden with plants would be good," she says. "A bigger area to play on would be nice.''

Vine Elementary only has one-tenth of an acre of green space.
The school is surrounded by blacktop on a sloping site with almost no grass. Pavement covers almost all the available space, making deliveries and parking easier, but leaving little space for play.

The school has tried to improve the stark surroundings. A mulch-covered play area with slides and monkey bars, financed through private funds, was carved into one of the blacktop areas in 1999. But falling on the mulch can be painful, Adrianna says.

If she could build her ideal school, it would be surrounded by trees.

"People could bring cushions and sit and read," she says.

Jennifer Mrozowski

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