Before a couple of weeks ago, the young students at All Hallows Elementary in North River would keep one eye on the clock above the classroom doorway and the other on the playground outside.
They would eagerly await the time when the bell would ring and they would be released from their classes, free to once again run wild and free amongst the playground equipment.
The equipment may not have been in the best of shape, but the seats on the swings were brand new, having been provided by the school council, and anything could serve as an outlet for their energy.
Now, all that exist are swings without seats and the ghosts of recess' past. A teeter-totter and the swingset had to be removed from the site.
The Eastern School Board has condemned the playground at All Hallows. A ruling that was laid down at a June 6 school council meeting.
"The safety of our students is a priority of the Eastern School District," the board said in a statement sent to The Compass.
Colleen Petten is the president of the All Hallows school council. She said the playground has been an ongoing issue for the last year.
"We weren't happy with the playground beforehand," said Petten.
Children at the school had been using the playground despite it not being in the best of conditions.
"It really wasn't good to begin with," said Petten, whose daughter Maya is in Grade 4.
When the written decision came from the school board, she said she found it "disturbing as a parent."
"No reason the kids can't have a playground," said Petten. "It doesn't seem right. This isn't a have-not area."
With healthy living getting a push in schools over the last couple of years, a playground is the last thing you'd think would get the axe.
For All Hallows, the over 400 students now have limited options when it comes to outside activity.
It's either the ball field that lies adjacent to the school or the parking lot, according to Petten.
"Who wants their kid playing on the parking lot?" she said.
Parents not happy
Petten said the parents at All Hallows are not happy with the decision to close the playground.
The playground was not ideal, but it was something.
Petten's daughter has two more years left at the school and she is dedicated to making sure that there is a new playground in place before Maya moves onto Amalgamated Academy.
Who is paying?
The school board does not directly fund the replacement of playgrounds and physical education equipment, according to the prepared statement.
But, it does not discourage other means.
"Upgrades to the playground could certainly be undertaken by the school community or through an outside organization," it said.
Petten said the council has taken aim at fundraising the money for a new facility, but it is "no small purchase."
She said the group has not yet approached the school board about its plans to possibly fund a new playground.