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SCHOOL PUTS A FOURTH 'R' IN EDUCATION: RAMPS

Skateboarders will have a new home at Pioneer High School.

A new 90-by-120-foot skateboarding park on the south end of Pioneer High School has opened, thanks to the work of students in the X-Time after-school program, the Abstinence-Only Project and area businesses. Temporary skateboarding ramps and equipment are in place, with permanent equipment to come in the late fall or early spring.

"We've got the paving done and fences up," said Kay Kilburn, the head of Pioneer's Abstinence-Only program.

She said financing for the park came from a $6,000 United Way grant and a $104,000 state grant for the Abstinence-Only program through the Department of Health. Donations of material and work time were provided by area communities and businesses.

Kilburn said the park should solve a local problem.

"A lot of kids were hanging out in local parking lots," Kilburn said. "They were having a lot of conflicts with store owners."

She said the park was needed as another outlet for students looking for something to do after school. The park is open from 2 p.m. until dusk on weekdays and from dawn until dusk on weekends.

Bowen said school leaders have been pleased with the park.

"To us, it represents one of the most effective ways education and programming can occur," Bowen said.

He said students have learned a lot from creating the park. They have raked and sweeped the skateboarding area.

"It is a wonderful educational experience for them, and it has a direct payoff," Bowen said. "There is a need to provide activities for students."

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