Online Donor Campaign for New Willie Ross Playground Reaches $75,000 Goal

LONGMEADOW — Willie Ross School for the Deaf (WRSD) announced it has reached 100% of its $75,000 goal to build a new playground on its Longmeadow campus at 32 Norway St. through an online fund drive. The project is part of the school’s larger campus expansion and renovation of its Sidney Cooley administration building that was recently completed.

Earlier this year, WRSD launched a crowdfunding campaign on GiveCampus. More than 160 donors contributed to the campaign, including faculty and staff, board members, students, parents of students, alumni, and members of the larger community. The new playground will be installed in the spring of 2022.

Some highlights of the new playground will be climbing features and slides.

According to WRSD President and CEO Bert Carter, “we are extremely pleased and thankful to all who contributed to our online campaign to raise the necessary funds to build a new playground for our students. The core of our mission is to help our deaf and hard-of-hearing students thrive in the world by engaging them intellectually, emotionally, and physically. The opportunity for our students to play and have an important physical outlet on a new playground is an essential part of daily life at our school.”

On Sept. 17, WRSD celebrated the completion of its newly expanded administration building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The renovation features new space for interpreters, an updated audiology center, a redesigned main entrance, improved wheelchair access, new space for the school’s Work Study program, and upgraded administrative technology. Proceeds from the crowdfunding campaign will also include new landscaping to support the new playground.

Willie Ross School for the Deaf provides a comprehensive educational program stressing academic excellence that focuses on the development of students’ intellectual, social, and emotional growth from the early-childhood level through high school. Willie Ross serves students at its main campus in Longmeadow and at its partnership campus in East Longmeadow. Mainstreaming opportunities are provided at the partnership campus.