Sugar Grove playground’s future mulled

When the elementary school is the heart of a community, and the school is about to close, what should the school district do with the property?

That was a question raised to the Warren County School District board of directors and administration by board member Tom Knapp regarding Sugar Grove Elementary School during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Physical Plant and Facilities Committee.

“I know the borough of Sugar Grove is interested in at least the playground facilities there,” he said. “(The) school district can deed it over to them at no cost. It has been done in the past.

“I can’t see the playground being sold as part of the building,” he said. “That’s a center piece of that town and has been for sixty to seventy years.”

Committee chair Donna Zariczny said there had been previous discussions about interest in the facility but Director of Buildings and Grounds Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht said that none of those options have panned out.

“It’s a beautiful piece of property,” said board member Mike Zamborik.

“The building itself, what I’d like to see done is to separate the two, the grounds with the playground and ball diamonds from the building,” Knapp said, “(and have) two separate sales or deeds so the community will not lose their only playground.”

Zariczny proposed having the administration bring a map of the property to the next committee meeting. “We’re getting to the point where (Sugar Grove) will be coming up next as far as listing it,” she said.

Knapp asked whether the playground equipment will remain at SGES or be moved to the elementary addition at the Eisenhower complex.

“The parent groups have been looking at both Russell Elementary and Sugar Grove,” said Interim Director of Pupil Services Ruth Nelson, explaining that an effort is underway to contact the playground equipment companies to see what can be moved. “They’re hoping to take some of the equipment, yes,” she said.

“It is my understanding the Sugar Grove one is easier to move based on how it was built,” said Zariczny.

Knapp pointed out that the Russell playground, though, is only used during school hours and not tied closely to the community.

The administration will be presenting on the issue further at June committee meetings.