HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A solution is in the works to address a local school playground problem. Currently, more than a thousand students are unable to use it, but it looks like that’s going to change with help from the community.

Second graders at Heights-Terrace Elementary and Middle School spend their outdoor recess time drawing with chalk on the school’s front sidewalk.

“I wish there was a playground. Swings, slides, have fun,” said Sofia Martinez, a second grader at Heights-Terrance Elementary and Middle School.

There’s actually something like that behind the school but it’s not been used in a few years.

Assistant Principal, Kevin Schadder says, “It’s just become a safety hazard for us that is very concerning for our students to use this.”

The worn playground surface is a tripping hazard. Kids were getting scrapes and bruises running around, and using slides and other decades-old playground equipment. The school and its PTA came up with an idea.

“It’s going to really take a community-wide effort to get this accomplished,” Schadder stated.

A playground project is in the works. Renderings reveal a $450,000 plan which more than doubles the old playground size to fill the school’s entire back lawn section.

The several pieces of playground equipment and picnic benches would allow students to do more than just burn off energy.

“They could establish relationships with other kids, learn how to play, learn how to get along with others. An area like this is so vital,” Retired Principle of Heights-Terrance Elementary and Middle School, Jocelyn Podlesney commented.

The old playground was only used by kindergarten through second graders, but under the new playground project plan, it will be accessible to all 1,100+ kindergarten through eighth graders who call Heights Terrace their educational home.

The school PTA is spearheading the fundraiser.

“They definitely need a place at the school where they could go out,” PTA President, Betsy Durso said.

Hiller asked, “How big a chore is it to make that happen?”

Durso replied, “It is a big chore.”

About a year of fundraising has brought in roughly $30,000 or a fraction of the total cost. But organizers are not giving up on their goal.

“And it’s going to take a while to do and I just hope it becomes a reality for the kids here,” Durso commented.

The Heights-Terrace Playground Project Committee is reaching out to businesses and generous individuals.

Head to their Facebook page to learn more about the fundraising efforts.

If you’d like to make a donation, head over to their GoFundMe page.