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Planning new playground, Academy ACL invites public to share ideas Oct. 8

       Citizens are invited to offer ideas Saturday, Oct. 8 for a new playground - one that would be open to public use - at the Academy for Advanced & Creative Learning K-8 charter school.
       Director/Principal Nikki Myers said the informal meeting will start at 9 a.m. at the school, 2510 N. Chestnut St., and last about an hour.
Fulfilling a challenge from students related to how much reading they'd done in fundraising for a new playground, Academy ACL Director/Principal Nikki Myers reads from the back of a horse Sept. 30 on the current gravel playground at the rear of the school. In the left background can be seen the mostly grass Pike Park, which neighbors the school to the north.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Donuts and coffee will be offered. School access will be through the doors by the basketball courts.
       Academy ACL is located next to a neighborhood park - the 4.3-acre Pike Park (named after Pike Elementary, the original school on that site, from 1956 to 2009), which includes a baseball field. The current back area of the school, including play areas, is primarily gravel. The park is mostly grass.
       Myers hopes that people attending the meeting will “talk about what they'd love to see in this neighborhood for playground and park-connected upgrades - a beautiful new, green and eco-friendly space for our kids and neighborhood (preschool through adult) to enjoy.”
       In a separate e-mail, she listed the school-desired benefits, including outdoor fitness equipment and spaces to run, interact with nature and “have outdoor learning labs and lessons.”
       Playground fundraising has been under way this fall through Academy ACL's seventh annual Readathon - which is tied to how much reading the students do.
       As of the end of September, the school was two-thirds of the way toward this year's $30,000 fundraising goal, Myers said. This triggered Myers to come through on an agreement with the students Sept. 30 - reading from the back of a horse on the existing playground (while various media recorded the event). The announced deadline for the fundraising effort is Oct. 18.
       In addition, she related, the school plans to seek a $110,000 grant from the School Yard Initiative within the state's lottery-funded Great Outdoors Colorado program.
       To be eligible, the applying school must “partner with an eligible local government,” according to to the School Initiative website. Academy ACL wants to partner with the City of Colorado Springs and its Parks Department, an arrangement which will eventually require a presentation to City Council, Myers said.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 9/30/16, updated 10/1/16; Schools: Elementary/Middle)

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