As about 10 employees of CTA Architects Engineers crowded around a piece of playground equipment Wednesday, bolting metal arms, supports and other parts together, their boss stood off to the side and chuckled.
“Apparently, it takes more architects and engineers to put together a merry-go-round than it does to build a multimillion dollar building,” joked Scott Wilson, CTA president.
It’s an effort he was happy to see though, as it all will go to benefit autistic children living on the campus of the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch — a local nonprofit that provides mental health treatment and support to children, youth and their families.
The merry-go-round, constructed in the parking lot of CTA’s office at 13 N. 23rd St., was the first of eight new pieces of playground equipment, constructed by CTA employees, that will fill a brand-new playground next to YBGR’s autistic housing.
In the shade of their office building, the employees used their combined knowledge to the building process off to a quick start.
“It looks like they’re doing pretty well there so far,” said Greg Leeds, YBGR’s director of plant services, who is overseeing the project. “I don’t think it’s going to take them much longer.”
The merry-go-round will then be hauled to the ranch. Next Tuesday, CTA employees go to the ranch to finish putting together the other seven playground features.
Once completed, the playground will sit on a 3,900-square-foot area which also will include arch and tire swings, a monkey bars-type structure, a slide, balance beam, a track ride and seating.
It will mostly serve autistic youth receiving assistance at the ranch and will be next to the YBGR’s London Lodge, which can house as many as 10 autistic boys between the ages of 10 and 15 years old.
It will also be designed to encourage socialization and communication.
Leeds said that some children will also
get the chance to help build parts of the playground.
“With a lot of these kids, if you get them involved, they take a sense of pride and comfort in it,” he said.
Regina Griemsman, YBGR director of public relations, said that the equipment cost $32,000.
Money which was raised through numerous donations to the YBGR Foundation over 18 months. She said CTA’s help assembling the playground is invaluable.
“We’ve had a lot of different people help,” she said. “The foundation has been trying to raise this money for the past year and a half, so it’s been an ongoing project.”
CTA first partnered with YBGR over the 2013 Christmas holiday to wrap more than 200 gifts for youth at the ranch, and officials said its a partnership they plan to continue.
Toni Schneider, CTA marketing director, said that after the playground assembly, her company will conduct a drive to collect new and used school supplies for the kids at the ranch.
Wilson said that CTA makes a point to get involved because it helps to make stronger, better communities in the places its employees live and work.
“You just can’t be a good community player without giving back,” he said. “It’s pretty darn important for us to be involved in the community and the ranch is one of those that touched a lot of people here as they learned about it.”
A dedication ceremony for the playground will be Aug. 26 at YBGR.