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Shooting to score for new play gear for West View school

The Playground Players will take on the Harlem Wizards next week to raise money so that West View Elementary School students have a better place to play.

The basketball fundraiser will be Monday at North Hills Junior High School, 55 Rochester Road in Ross.

Teachers and administrators from several North Hills schools, local police officers and others will challenge the Harlem Wizards professional entertainment basketball team to raise money for replacing playground equipment that is more than 20 years old, said West View parent Eileen Shamonsky, the fundraising coordinator.

"Our whole community comes and plays on our playground. It needs updated bad," said Shamonsky of West View. "This is a great fundraising effort."

Giving it their all

Team members will include West View's police chief and borough manager, Bruce Fromlak; North Hills School District Superintendent Patrick Mannarino; District Judge Richard Opiela; and West View Elementary Principal Jesse Simpson.

Simpson said the new playground is "something near and dear to my heart."

Simpson said because the school is landlocked, there isn't a soccer field or other open area for exercise -- only the well-worn playground, which is split in two. Part of it is in the back of the school and part is in the front. The North Hills School District removed equipment in the back because of its poor condition.

Parents hope to provide modern, safer equipment for both portions of the playground, and possibly resurface them.

The fundraising committee hopes to raise at least $20,000, though Simpson, 35, knows the cost probably will be much higher. With state budget cuts and the economy lagging, the district doesn't have money for equipment, Simpson said.

He said there is a possibility of matching grants from vendors, but nothing will be solid until money is raised.

Shamonsky said the committee has $2,000 from other fundraisers, and she hopes the basketball game will significantly push the district toward its goal.

Local performers Johnny Angel & the Halos will be at Monday's game to sing the national anthem, Shamonsky said.

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Additional Information:

If you go

What : Harlem Wizards vs. Playground Players basketball game to raise money for new playground equipment at West View Elementary School

When : Jan. 23. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the game starts at 7.

Where : North Hills Junior High School, 55 Rochester Road, Ross

Cost : Presale tickets, $8 for students and $10 for adults. At the door, $10 for students and $12 for adults. Children small enough to sit on their parents' laps are admitted free. Purchase tickets in advance at www.harlemwizards.com , call 412-939-0509 or e-mail eski2330@comcast.net . Advance tickets are available at the North Hills School District's Athletics & Activities Office from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. through Friday.

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