Sturgeon Bay school hopes to create safer and more 'active' playground

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – T.J. Walker Middle School hopes to get its kids more active by building a playground which would be safer than recess is right now.

“Our kids are basically playing basketball, with a row of cars, and they're in the parking lot when people could be going in and out of the parking lot, so the biggest thing was a huge safety issue,” said Craig Sigl, 7th grade teacher at T.J Walker Middle School.

The proposed upgrade has been coined the "Clipper Fitness Zone.” It’s complete with a basketball court, volleyball courts, park equipment even an outdoor amphitheater or classroom among other amenities.

The idea is to get the kids more active both physically and socially.

“As you look at your schools, you want to have a place where we look at the academic portion, the classroom settings, there's a time in the day where kids get to go outside and have movement, research shows that movement is key to help kids with their brain stimulation, and it enhances learning,” said Mark Smullen, Principal at T.J. Walker Middle School.

Sigl said a big component of the project is to have wheelchair accessible equipment.

“We have equipment geared towards students with Autism, so even if it's not a recess time, if there is equipment out there that they can utilize and would be helpful during their school day, we can get them out there,” said Sigl.

The cost of the project is about $500,000. Through grants and fundraising, and support from the community, the school has high hopes to break ground at the start of summer break.

“We've got a solid engineering plan, and what we've got included in the space and we've got from now until June 10th to find and collect the necessary funds for the project,” said Sigl.