Menomonee Falls elementary students advise architect on all-inclusive playground design

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MILWAUKEE -- A playground for everyone. That's what one school is working to make possible for their elementary school students.

The school playground is a place every kid can run around, laugh, and play. At least that's the goal for Vivian and her mom, Sarah Johnson.

"Currently, Vivian can't use any of the equipment because it's bordered by woodchips. There are no ramps or swings that she can use, and she really wants to be included," said Sarah Johnson, mother of Vivian.

Shady Lane Elementary School

Vivian is a prospective student at Shady Lane Elementary School in Menomonee Falls. She was born with some health issues that force her to be in a wheelchair.

"She has older siblings and watches them play. So she just wants to feel like part of the fun," said Johnson.

On Friday morning, September 22nd the school brought in a playground designer to speak with students, and ask them how they'd like to see their playground become inclusive.

Shady Lane Elementary School

"People sometimes need friends to play with, but they also want to play on the equipment," said Dylan, 2nd grade student.

One of the hardest parts about creating an all-inclusive playground isn't the equipment kids are playing on, but rather what it's built on. The current playground is built on woodchips which makes it harder for people in wheelchairs to play on because their chairs sink into the ground.

"The team is optimistic that by spring we will have our money and we can start our build in the summer," said Brad Hoffman, Shady Lane Elementary, Principal.

The school estimates it will cost $300,000 to build an inclusive park for Sarah.

Shady Lane Elementary School

"When they're all playing together it's just going to make the environment even better," said Johnson.

On Saturday, at Shady Elementary, the playground designer will be showing off a drawing of the inclusive playground -- which will feature some of the students' ideas.

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