Remodel provides access, fun for students

Candidate views on Measure L vary
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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A remodel is allowing disabled children access to a local school and its new recreational equipment. Secret Ravine School in Newcastle is currently having a switch-back ramp installed where buses drop children off in the front of its building. The ramp will allow children to exit at bus height and move down several ramps to ground level, according to James Anderberg, executive director of administrative services for the Placer County Office of Education. The children who attend this school are severe multiply disabled and used to attend Pineview School in Newcastle, which is owned by the Newcastle School District. Anderberg said the office of education, which owns Secret Ravine School, wanted to use more of its own facilities, so it stopped leasing from the Newcastle district. “We moved some kids that were in Secret Ravine to another school and then brought the severe multiply disabled students down from Pineview to Secret Ravine,” Anderberg said. The school serves students from elementary age to 22 years old, according to Phillip Williams, assistant superintendent of special education for PCOE. The remodel also includes American with Disabilities Act access to the back of the school where some new interactive items and play equipment are being installed outside, Anderberg said. A swing set built for students in wheelchairs, able-bodied students and students who need to sit in a sling is being added in addition to items that work with students’ senses, like a chime and rain wheel. The rain wheel is an object that children can move to hear materials moving around inside its tubing. This instrument as well as the chime can be used for visually impaired students, Williams said. “It allows them to stimulate their brains,” he said. A vertical board with carved paths is also being installed. On this unit students can guide a ball through the paths from one side of the board to the other. Williams said this not only provides physical activity, but also gives the students a chance to get out of the classroom. “It’s a change for them to use muscles that need strengthening, and it’s outdoors,” Williams said. The budget for this remodel is $170,000, $80,000 of which is scheduled to come out of the Office of Education’s Harrigan Trust. Anderberg said PCOE is proud of this remodel, because of how it positively impacts the students at the school. “It really tugs at your heart, and this is a project you really feel good about,” he said. Reach Bridget Jones at