Kevin O’Grady School staff, students, parents and donors cut the ribbon for a large outdoor exercise space that replaced a field of weeds on the Beverly school’s campus.
The ribbon cutting marked the end of phase one of a $200,000 Outdoor eX campaign to create a safe space for students with severe special needs to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.
The campaign was supported by major donations from the Beverly Athletic Club, Cummings Foundation and People’s United Bank, as well as the Friends of the Northshore Education Consortium, staff and families.
The Kevin O’Grady School, a program of the Northshore Education Consortium, serves 120 students with significant developmental delays, including pervasive developmental disorders, Autism, multiple handicaps, visual impairments and medical fragility. Students are referred by school districts from all over the North Shore.
The 16,000-square-foot space includes a large playing field, a half basketball court and a walking, riding, running track that meets the requirements of Americans with Disabilities Act for wheelchair use.
The project is being led by an Outdoor eX Committee comprised of staff and parents, as well as the Development staff of the Northshore Education Consortium.
The committee’s next step is to engage a consultant to design a sensory garden and decide where special play and leisure equipment will be placed. Phase two of the plan will commence in the summer of 2014.
“We are grateful to our good neighbor the Beverly Athletic Club, the Cummings Foundation and People’s United Bank. Their support made this beautiful space possible for our students,” said Northshore Education Consortium Executive Director Fran Rosenberg. “Thanks to their generous donations, we have accomplished our dream of building an outdoor space for students to enjoy being outdoors and exercising.”
Holding large ceremonial scissors, Ms. Rosenberg cut the ribbon for the new recreational space. She was joined by students who held the ribbon, the Outdoor eX committee, BAC, the Cummings Foundation and People’s United Bank.
Cheering erupted from the crowd, which had gathered on a beautiful fall day for the occasion.