Northern Lights School playground will have a new home in Redford | News, Sports, Jobs

Wayne Drollette, left, and Don Ward of the Town of Saranac use a large jackhammer to break up concrete on the base of playground equipment they were removing from the Northern Lights school on Wednesday. The school is donating one of its playgrounds to the hamlet of Redford as it prepares to build a new one. (Business Photo – Aaron Cerbone)

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

It was a hot day. The kids were safe in the shade but scared of the big machines. They were also a little sad to see the rideable dinosaurs in the playset go. The men were tired of breaking huge chunks of concrete in the hot sun. But they all spent the day — a shared experience from different perspectives — with a few popsicles.

Northern Lights school administrator Polly Kelting said the playground has been there for about 20 years. The school moved into the building earlier this year. She feels bad that they are taking away the playground, but she said it is designed for children older than the age group the school caters for, so the students wouldn’t be able to anyway play it during school hours.

Yet they were attached. Their parents brought them in the evening to play on the equipment. NLS teacher Madeleine Webster said the playground was 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 that his neighborhood needed a playground, Kelting was happy to give the equipment a new home.

Saranac Town Board Member Jerry Delaney rides a spring car in the Northern Lights School playground on Wednesday. The school is donating one of its playgrounds to the hamlet of Redford as it prepares to build a new one. (Business Photo – Aaron Cerbone)

Saranac Town Council member Jerry Delaney said there was a need in the hamlet of Redford. There is no playground and there is a group of families there. Delaney said the cost of paying someone to move the playground would have been over $35,000, so he and city workers Don Ward and Wayne Drollette decided to do it themselves.

Delaney said they plan to relocate it next to the Redford fire station in the coming weeks.

Northern Lights School is planning a new play area where the slides, ladders and rock wall used to be, Kelting said. She said they were looking for a more natural place to play, and a common request from students was something “bouncing” play on it.

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

Webster said the little ones were very scared of loud machinery, but the toddler NLS students were incredibly excited by the noise and the sight.

Left to right, Aubrey, Wren McKim, Madeleine Webster and Jack Turner enjoy popsicles at Northern Lights School on Wednesday. Young people were getting used to cold treats. At first they would touch the popsicles to their face to feel the temperature, but soon they would put it all in their mouths and let it drip down their chin. (Business Photo – Aaron Cerbone)

Even Jack Turner, a young student who was first scared when a backhoe started his engine, stopped licking his ice cream for a second to say: “Wow! » when he saw him go to work.


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Harold B. McConnell