BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — At the corner of Broadway and Conant streets, Maumee residents can see major changes happening at Union School.
The historic building, which is now home to several preschool classes, has been in need of some updates to infrastructure and the playground equipment.
Originally, the playground was created with elementary students in mind. Now that preschool-aged students are the primary visitors to the school site, an update is needed.
“Now that Union School is serving as a preschool building, it was time to renovate the playground so that the students would have a nice place to play, exercise and enjoy some gross motor activities,” explained Maumee City Schools Assistant Superintendent Matt Dick. “We are replacing the surfaces, playground equipment and fencing as part of this project.”
According to Dick, the engineering and design service for the project was handled by Buehrer Group Architecture & Engineering, and Midwest Contracting is the contractor for the project.
Additionally, the district is working with the city regarding the updates to the fence.
“The city of Maumee has been instrumental in working with the Maumee City Schools on the fencing needs for this project,” Dick said. “As part of the uptown renovations, the city has been using specific colors, styles and sizes of fencing. The fencing style chosen for Union School matches the new uptown theme and is an enhanced look over the current chain link fence.”
In addition to the new fence, residents will also see several other changes to the layout outside of Union School.
Vehicle traffic will be prohibited inside the front playground fence. A variety of surfaces will also be added to the playground area, including mulch, concrete, a rubberized surface and grass, along with a new sidewalk.
When passing the school, motorists have seen crews remove the old asphalt and mulch. Residents can now expect to see crews adding new drain tile to the property before the new surfaces are installed.
Placed on top of the new surfaces will be the new playground equipment, which is targeted at younger students and a wider demographic of abilities.
“As a public school, we serve all students, and some of our students have additional physical needs due to disabilities. Inclusive playground equipment is designed so that these students can enjoy the playground, along with their peers, by accommodating physical limitations,” Dick said.
Several inclusive structures will be placed on the rubberized surface portion of the playground, allowing students who use wheelchairs to access the equipment.
“It is important that we meet the needs of all of our students and that all students have equal access to equipment that is appropriate for their age and needs,” Dick said. “The mission of the Maumee City Schools is that we are a community that invests in every child, every day, to ensure that all students find their success.”
The timing of the project, which is being done over the summer when school is not in session, also aligned with the availability of funds from the district’s permanent improvement budget, Dick added. The majority of the project is funded by permanent improvement money, which is specifically allocated for improvement projects, construction and equipment in the district.
“This money cannot be used for salary or personnel expenses. The Maumee voters have previously approved two permanent improvement levies totaling 1.9 mills. These two levies collectively generate $1.1 million per year for these projects,” Dick explained.
A $10,138.40 federal grant from the American Rescue Plan to supplement the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act was also secured by the district to help with the cost of the inclusive playground equipment.
When school is not in session, families in Maumee will also have access to the playground, allowing residents to enjoy the inclusive space, Dick added.
The playground at Union School is located at 102 E. Broadway St. in Maumee.