Morning Star School Gets New Outdoor Playground

April 17, 2020

Morning Star School will be breaking ground soon on a new fitness center for students thanks to a $200,000 donation from the Gary and Nancy Chartrand Advised Fund.

As the only special education Catholic school in the Diocese of St. Augustine serving K-12 children with learning and intellectual differences and autism spectrum disorders, the new playground must be built to meet the needs of the students. Permitting is now under way for the project, with construction scheduled for completion in August.

While all 140 students at Morning Star School will be able to use the outdoor fitness center, it will be specifically designed for the older students because the school already has a playground geared to the needs of the younger students. The project will include an open fitness field with artificial turf, exercise equipment including parallel parts, a square pull-up station and a ‘double turbo challenge’ area. A three-foot retaining wall will also be built at the rear of the property.

“We are extremely grateful to the Chartrand Advised Fund for helping us make this important addition to our campus,” said Morning Star School Director of Development Maria Johnson. “Teaching our students how to stay fit and healthy, and in a fun atmosphere, is an important part of a positive learning experience.”

In addition to the donation from the Chartrand Advised Fund, older students at Morning Star School also assisted in fundraising by participating in a fundraiser selling Spanky’s Gourmet Pickles to help raise funds for the project.

“This time of uncertainty is a great example of why the fitness center area is of great importance,” said Morning Star School Physical Education Teacher ‘Coach’ Natalie Bryan. “Students who maintain their fitness and good health are more likely to become active healthy adults – improving student learning while reducing obesity and participation in high-risk behaviors.”

For more information about the outdoor fitness center and other needs at the school, contact 904.721.2144, or email development@morningstar-jax.org.

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