DOVER -- A month ago, $25,000 was anonymously donated for a new playground project that is in its preliminary stages at the Dover School.
"The person who donated would like to see something done sooner rather than later," said Dover School Building Committee Member and School Board Member Rich Werner. He added that the equipment should be moveable so that if a decision is made to level a wooded area and turn it into a soccer field, the playground equipment could be temporarily placed in another spot.
On June 11, the Dover School Building Committee met and spoke about how to approach planning for a new playground. Werner mentioned that kids have been coming home with splinters because of the current playground.
When discussing the new playground, Building Committee member Chip Vicary suggested a fundraiser that would "engage the whole community." In this scenario, people would volunteer to help set up the playground. It would incorporate skilled workers in the area who could lend a hand for the more difficult aspects of the project.
"It’s a great way to bring the whole community together," said Vicary. "Not just the kids but the parents, too."
Building Committee member Marco Tallini had already met with two representatives that were potential bidders for playground equipment. He was expecting to receive some rough estimates from each company’s representative by next week.
"I think for the money we have, we can do something nice," he said.
As of May 14, the committee’s Playground Fund had $33,000 in it.
Before the meeting, each member of the Building Committee made a list of their top five choices for how the school’s building and grounds should be improved, addressing both the interior and exterior needs of the school.
"I felt if I was a staff member or student, one (need) was a working or new heating system," said committee member Chip Vicary. "Something where we’re not opening the windows in January."
He went on to mention installing energy efficient lighting and electricity, which the other members agreed on its importance. The availability of grants for energy efficient projects made the prospect more attractive.
Another option the committee agreed on was installing new carpeting in the building, which is outdated and could use replacing.
Dover School Principal Bill Anton told Vicary that he’d like to see the parking lot repaired or improved.
"It’s not only because the asphalt’s crumbling," said Vicary. "It gives people the wrong first impression and it’s a nightmare on a school play or musical night."
The committee discussed the possibility of expanding the parking lot and making more spaces.
Building Committee member Mark Wallace voiced concern over the lack of a proper cafeteria. He pointed out that the children eat their lunch in the same room that they attend gym class and play sports games.
"If we have this opportunity to renovate, now is the time to throw everything out there and let the town rule it down," he said, referring to the voting process that occurs after the committee recommends projects.
Discussion for potential plans spanned from building a theater or auditorium off the gymnasium to installing an ice skating rink near the field. At the next meeting, the committee will begin to combine and prioritize the members’ lists for improvements to the school.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.