GLENVILLE — When the students at Oak Hill School have physical education class, they go outside.
When it's raining outside, they go to the local YMCA.
And when the YMCA isn’t available, they don’t have PE.
Oak Hill has been providing an individualized education program for students with emotional challenges for over 40 years. It houses students from over 22 different school districts, and uses just six classrooms to give them the education they need. But the students can’t always enjoy a guaranteed physical education. At least not on school grounds.
For the last six years, school officials have pushed to make a gymnasium a possibility.
Now it just might happen.
This coming Saturday, June 15, Oak Hill is putting on a Family Fun Festival to raise money for the gym. While the festival will offer a bounce house, an obstacle course, food concessions, basket raffles and music from the local DJ Ketchup, it will also double as a groundbreaking ceremony for the soon-to-be gym, something the school hopes to finally give to its students.
“Not to sound corny, but they’re the future,” said Oak Hill Event Coordinator Susan Vine. “We’re going to make this happen one way or another for these children.”
Vine is excited to see the kids’ reactions to the dunking tank and she’s looking forward to all the families who drive in from out of town to attend the event. But she’ll be way more excited when she can finally offer students a guaranteed physical education.
Oak Hill has already received a $250,000 state grant, obtained with the assistance of state Sen. James Tedisco, and a $50,000 grant from the Wright Family Foundation, with additional grants pending. The gymnasium will cost around $700,000, according to Vine. Executive Director David Mitchel invited Tedisco and other local dignitaries, including contractor Bishop Beaudry, to the festival for the groundbreaking ceremony. Vine said the school is still looking for big sponsors to fund the gymnasium development for its 36 students.
Mitchel said he’s “envisioned” the gymnasium for the last five or six years, and he hopes to see it erected before the winter.
While the staff is grateful for the local YMCA’s help, they are excited to finally see students have a “facility of their own,” according to Mitchel.
Oak Hill’s Family Fun Festival takes place June 15 from noon to 4 p.m. The event will be open to the public.
The school is seeking any donations toward the facility.
“We realize this is going to be a huge financial decision and we need your help,” Vine wrote in a press release. “No donation is too small.”
Family Fun Festival
Oak Hill School, 39 Charlton Road, Glenville
Saturday, June 15, from noon to 4 p.m.