Published in the August 11, 2016 edition.
By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — Director of Athletics, Health and Wellness Brendan Kent told the School Committee Tuesday night that he has secured grant funding to rebuild the outdoor Project Adventure course at the high school.
Kent said Wakefield Memorial High School had an outdoor adventure course dating back to the 1970s in the area off Hemlock Road between Landrigan Field and the Dobbins Tennis Courts. But he said that over the years the course has fallen apart.
He said that he determined that it would take about $25,000 to restore the course. Last May, he was able to secure a $100,000 grant of which the first $25,000 will be used to restore the outdoor adventure course at the High School.
Multiple vendors were brought in before one was chosen to complete the work, Kent said.
He noted that one of the problems with the old course was that equipment was mounted or attached to trees and vulnerable to tree damage and subject to overgrowth. The new course, he said will be entirely built off utility poles, which are safer, more durable and require less maintenance.
Project adventure is part of the high school curriculum, he noted. Students have been fulfilling the requirement using indoor equipment.
Kent said that the new course will have three levels: low, medium and high. The course will feature a teeter totter, in-line logs, a Burma bridge, a multivine traverse, a two-line bridge, a nitro crossing, a universal Mohawk walk and a freestanding 12-foot wall.
Kent told the School Committee that he has been meeting with the vendor and the town’s Director of Parks and Forestry Dennis Fazio to determine what it will take to get the area ready to build. He expects the course to be ready sometime this fall.
The remainder of the $100,000 grant, Kent said, will be used to upgrade playground facilities at the elementary schools. He credited Elizabeth Russell of the Wakefield Education Foundation and School Superintendent Kim Smith with helping to write the grant.
Smith praised Kent, saying that part of fitness is getting kids outdoors. She also praised the outdoor adventure program’s focus on teaching team-building and problem-solving skills.