Northern Lights School playground to get new home in Redford

Wayne Drollette, left, and Don Ward, of the town of Saranac, use a large jackhammer to break apart concrete on the base of playground equipment they were removing from Northern Lights School on Wednesday. The school is giving one of its playgrounds to the hamlet of Redford as it prepares to build a new one. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

SARANAC LAKE — Several toddlers watched a crew of workers from the town of Saranac dismantle a Northern Lights School playground on Wednesday.

It was a hot day. The kids were safe in the shade but scared by the big machinery. They were also a little sad to see the playset’s rideable dinosaurs go. The men were weary from breaking up huge chunks of concrete in the full sun. But they all got through the day — a shared experience from different points of view — with a couple of popsicles.

Northern Lights School Administrator Polly Kelting said the playground had been there for around 20 years. The school moved into the building earlier this year. She feels bad that they’re removing the playground, but she said it is rated for children older than the age group the school takes in, so students couldn’t play on it during school hours anyway.

Still, they were attached. Their parents would bring them over in the evenings to play on the equipment. NLS teacher Madeleine Webster said the playground has been a bit of a distraction; students always wanted to play on it but couldn’t.

So when a school board member who lives in the town of Saranac mentioned her neighborhood needed a playground, Kelting was glad to give the equipment a new home.

Saranac town board member Jerry Delaney picks up a spring-loaded car from the Northern Lights School playground on Wednesday. The school is giving one of its playgrounds to the hamlet of Redford as it prepares to build a new one. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

Saranac town board member Jerry Delaney said there’s a need in the hamlet of Redford. It doesn’t have a playground, and there is a group of families there. Delaney said the cost to pay someone to move the playground would have been upwards of $35,000, so he and town employees Don Ward and Wayne Drollette decided to do it themselves.

Delaney said they plan to have it reinstalled next to the fire station in Redford within the next few weeks.

Northern Lights School is planning a new playground space where the slides, ladders and rock wall stood, Kelting said. She said they are looking for a more natural place to play, and one common request from students has been for something “bouncy” to play on.

Kelting said Delaney, Ward and Drollette bought popsicles for the kids when they came. Watching the three adults sweat it out, Kelting offered them the cold treats. With enough insistence, they each took one.

Webster said the little ones have been quite fearful of the loud machinery, but NLS’s toddler students have been incredibly excited by the noise and spectacle.

From left, Aubrey, Wren McKim, Madeleine Webster and Jack Turner enjoy popsicles at Northern Lights School on Wednesday. The youngsters were getting used to the cold treats. At first, they were touching the icy pops to their faces to feel the temperature, but soon, they were putting the whole thing in their mouths and letting it run down their chin. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

Even Jack Turner, a young student who was at first scared when a backhoe started its engine, stopped licking his popsicle for a second to say, “Woah!” when he saw it go to work.


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