AISD on track with wheelchair-accessible playgrounds

Workers have begun to make changes at the McCall Elementary School playground in order to make it wheelchair-accessible, a first for the district’s playgrounds. Changes include switching the ground material and installing wheelchair-accessible swings. 

McCall Elementary will be the first Aledo ISD school to have a wheelchair-accessible playground.

The updated playground comes as a result of “Jayci’s Heart,” a project initiated by McCall Elementary 4th grader Jayci Stubblefield. 

Jayci’s best friend, 10-year-old Rylea Lambert, uses a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy.

Frustrated she could not play with her friend on the playground, Stubblefield and her family, along with McCall Elementary Principal Jason Beaty, approached the Aledo School Board and the Aledo Education Foundation to ask for their help.

“Jayci came to me a year ago, and she had an idea,” Beaty said. “It really took a collective community effort to make this little girl’s dream come true. And her dream was not for her. It was for her best friend.”

During a Nov. 16 school board meeting, the board of trustees unanimously approved the purchase of new playground equipment. 

At the time, Aledo ISD Chief Financial Officer Earl Husfeld said construction would begin within two months.

The district made good on that promise. 

On Monday, workers at McCall Elementary School began the first stages of construction to make the playground wheelchair-accessible.

“It’s going great,” Husfeld said. “It’s going even quicker than I had anticipated.”

The pea gravel on each elementary playground will be replaced with a “wood fiber material,” Husfeld said, and a wheelchair accessible swing will be installed.

The changes should take around a week to complete on each campus, Husfeld said. 

“We’re learning about this process as we go,” he said. “But I’m confident we’ll stay on track.” 

As soon as the new playground materials and wheelchair accessible swing are in place at McCall Elementary, workers will move on to Coder, Vandagriff and Stuard Elementary Schools. 

The project should take around a month total to complete, Husfeld said. 

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