An oasis in its figurative sense is defined as a peaceful respite where a person can feel safe and secure. Add fun to the equation and you’ve got the Oasis at McKinley Elementary School, a multi-year project that is nearing completion.
“We took a run-down area of our exterior and brightened it up,” says McKinley principal Marc Biunno. “We gave the area much needed updates that excite our students and the community.”
Phase I of the Oasis project was completed during the 2017-2018 school year and included work on the blacktop (fixing cracks and repaving/resealing the asphalt) before painting a walking track, colored Four Square game areas, and random lines meandering in bright yellows, reds, and blues to encourage creative play.
“If you spend enough time at recess, you realize that ‘play’ is often totally random and creative,” Biunno says. “Bushes aren’t bushes -- they are a kingdom. Walls aren’t walls -- they’re play partners. Those lines? No clue what they’ll be for the kids but I’m sure they’ll figure something out.”
Fencing, graded grass areas and new landscaping rounded out Phase I, with the focus this year now on Phase II.
“Everyone is excited for the next step which is to add a playground apparatus and finish the landscaping,” adds Biunno.
Biunno gives grateful credit to the McKinley Parent-Teacher Organization which held various successful fundraisers to help pay for the renovation that is now an oasis for McKinley students to enjoy.