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‘Change the Playground’ campaign launched
Fitness area to address issue of childhood obesity

Farragut Intermediate School PTA has decided to do something concrete about kids’ health.

The PTA is raising money for a fitness area to adjoin the current playground.

“Instead of doing a traditional playground, we wanted to do something along the lines of physical fitness,” said Charlotte Jensen, FIS PTA president. “The new equipment will address the issues of childhood obesity and childhood diabetes.

“By the time [the students have] finished the course, they will have used every one of their upper body muscles,” she said. Gym classes at the school also will use the proposed fitness area.

“Change the Playground” is the brainchild of the PTA.

The fifth-grade playground, which also is used by fourth graders, is currently just a large paved area with basketball goals and a small climbing structure, Charlotte Jensen, PTA president, said.

“There’s a lot of room for them to run,” Jensen said, “but in all honesty all they can do is run. At any given time, there are one hundred fifty to two hundred kids on the playground.”

The PTA needs to raise $23,000 for the new area. To make progress towards the goal, the “Change the Playground” campaign was mounted in early December.

Each child was asked to bring in a cup filled with change. About $4,000 was raised between Dec. 5-9.

The PTA has been working with principal Dr. Robert Frazier and Debbie Hatch, the physical education teacher at FIS.

“Dr. Frazier and I are working with a playground provider in Knoxville who will provide us with a color drawing so people will be able to see what we’re planning,” Jensen said.

Beginning in January, the PTA will begin asking for donations from corporations.

Jensen hopes contributions will be sent in early, so that this year’s fifth-graders will have a chance to play on the new equipment.

“The playground people will let us order as soon as half of the money is raised,” she said. She plans to solicit funds up until Family Fun Night March 3. This year all proceeds from that event will go toward the new playground.

Jensen has experience with playgrounds. She was PTA president at Farragut Primary School when a new playground was installed there.

For more information, contact Jensen at


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