New fencing around the playground area at Niangua Schools has been installed ahead of the school year, a project that could not have been completed this year without help from the community and support from school administrators.
“We put fencing in for the playground because the teachers and the bus drivers have been concerned for safety reasons. Some critters have come to the playground while the kids are out there at recess and although many of them are domesticated, you never know what dogs, or any animals, will do or how safe it is to have them around,” said Niangua TLC President Judy Aswad.
“The bus drivers have also been concerned about picking up the kids after school and dropping them off in the morning. The driveway comes up adjacent to some playground equipment within feet of them. So they were they have been nervous for years that kids are becoming to run out to the bus. And it's so close to the playground that the bus drivers wouldn't see them, and the kids could get hurt.”
With these factors taken into consideration, Niangua TLC began writing grants to see if they could get some funding for the fencing to go up. "With the help from Sean Boyd, owner of Boyd Fencing, we got a quote. The Coover Foundation was amazing. They gave us $25,000 toward the fencing, and Simmons Bank gave us $2,500. The school put in $7,500 toward the fencing, and then the TLC nonprofit put in another $1000," said Aswad.
Because of the generosity of local donors, safety and security is no longer a high concern at the school. According to TLC, the school has been supportive of the efforts which improve the safety of both children on the playground, and buses and drivers during school drop off and pick up.
“Boyd Fencing lowered his price to ensure that the money we were able to raise was all he was going to charge. And he went out there; he did a fabulous job. He was able to, not able to, but he went up the back of a playground where there was probably about 10 feet of brush and poison ivy and everything else. He dug all that up, cleaned it all out, and then put the fence so that it gave us about 10 feet by 100 feet, more room for the kids to play where it would be safe and no play, no poison ivy or, or anything that could hurt them. So that's the basic story,” Aswad added.
“I had a lot of support from the school. They're great. We have a new superintendent Dr. David Baker, and he has been fantastic in trying to improve the school, and so is our other superintendent. Josh Hume was excellent too. He did a lot for Niangua schools regarding getting the school's operations. Better safety equipment for the doors and all that, so when TLC came to him and said, you know, we've got requests for the playground fencing, he was all for it.”
Niangua Schools is grateful to the following foundations, companies, and donors:
Louis L. & Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation, "Coover Regional Celebration of Public Spaces Grant Program."
Community Foundation of the Ozarks
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