Leigh Gant, left holding check, of Georgia United Credit Union, and Angela Patton, right, founder and head of Sage School in Suwanee, pose for a picture with Sage students and a $5,000 check the school received for being a runnerup in Georgia United Credit Union’s School Crasher Makeover Grant Program. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)
SUWANEE — There’s a jungle gym and a slide, but Grant Patterson’s favorite part of a playground is simple.
The monkey bars.
For the fourth-grader at Sage School in Suwanee, which specializes in assisting children in kindergarten through eighth grade who have dyslexia and other language and speech difficulties, the possibility of a new playground is just really great.
“It gives you something more to look forward to in your free time,” Patterson said. “We’ll all have a good time.”
The school moved a step closer to reaching its monetary goal for a new playground on its property off Satellite Boulevard when it was recently named a runner-up grant recipient and received a $5,000 check from Georgia United Credit Union. Sage applied for Georgia United Credit Union’s School Crasher Makeover Grant Program along with 752 schools around metro Atlanta, and the school was one of five runnerups chosen.
Chapel Hill Elementary in DeKalb County was the grand prize winner.
Sage founder and head of school Angela Patton said she was proud that Sage, which has 40 students, was awarded the grant while competing against schools with 1,000 students. Parent testimonials wrote about how multi-sensory learning is important for their children.
The school has separately raised $8,000 toward a $50,000 goal that includes sight preparation and playground equipment. Funding will go toward removing shrubbery and trees, building a retaining wall, a new sidewalk and fence.
The playground is expected to be unveiled in the next year.
It’s something school officials recognized as a need since the school moved into its building in March, 2013. It’s often the first thing parents touring the school ask about, particularly with young elementary school children.
“We’re actively trying to get that addressed, not just because the parents want it, but the kids need it,” Patton said. “It’s a really important part of their day to get outside and have complete free play. It’s going to be a big piece of their day that’s going to make them excited to come to school.”
Long-range plans include a soccer field or ballpark at the school, but in the mean time, school officials plan to have an area for older students that’s unique for them and includes a patio space. Current recess time features basketball and four square activities. Being active is especially important for many Sage students who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
“It’s great to have basketball and things we have now, but if we had something to physically climb on, it would be a great way for them to get some energy out,” said Beth Compton, assistant head of school.
It’s already something students are talking about.
“It’s just part of a school, it’s what every school has,” sixth-grader Rogan Powell said. “Hopefully we can go outside more and enjoy, and burn some energy off, even in the winter on a sunny day.”