Pam Dudding Contributing writer
There is nothing more heart-warming than listening to kids’ laughter as they play outside together in a playground area.
Psychologists studies show that children having “playtime” at school increases their mental ability to learn as well as decreases anxiety, depression, and bad thoughts.
The Craig County Public Schools administration has always provided a nice playground area for their students and are working diligently to continue to keep a safe and fun atmosphere for the students of Craig County.
“I know some would think we need other things beside playground equipment,” one parent shared. “But when your kid comes home, and half their conversation is about playing outside and then you ask them to do their homework and they immediately go to their desk, we are grateful for that kind of concern of a good balance of teaching and playing.”
Before the new school year started, Maintenance Supervisor, Denny Williams conducted his annual inspection of the CCPS playground equipment. According to DOE standards a few things were now considered to be unsafe.
The monkey bars have been deemed no longer safe as the height safety has been changed to a lower height as well as other play structure which has already been removed. “The fall height is now too high,” Superintendent Jeanette Warwick shared at the September School Board meeting.
She also said they had to take the large metal slide down as it no longer met standards and it would get hot on sunny days.
However, Warwick announced that Game Time has offered a matching donation. Warwick noted she had picked out a playground in previous years for another school and knows the quality of this company.
Warwick and Principal Geri VanDyke spent hours looking through the large Game Time catalog to find playground equipment appropriate for their students and within budget.
“The one we chose goes from age five to twelve and also has things for students with disabilities to use,” Warwick said. “It also has a play capacity of up to 95 students at one time.”
If Game Time did the installation, it would add thirty percent of the cost of the equipment to the total bill.
“However, Williams indicated they can put the playground together, and the company will do a much lower supervised cost of only ten percent, which will still keep the warranty in place,” Warwick noted.
Williams also noted that there may be community members who have construction equipment who would like to help with this project, making it a community day, Warwick said.
President, Susan Crenshaw added that many in the community helped to build the bleachers.
Warwick explained that the new playground would be much larger and would go to the back part of the playground.
Warwick suggested a proposal of up to $50,000 and then she will request a matching grant. If she cannot obtain the matching grant, the Board can then revisit their decision. If the matching grant is obtained, Warwick feels they can have the new playground in by October.
She also shared that they are looking at some new equipment for the preschool, as most of it has been home use play equipment. “Every time a storm comes through it gets thrown and busted,” she said. “Therefore, we were also talking to the company about a small preschool playground station.”
VanDyke has already been working on this project for a while and has raised over $8,000. However, Warwick said, “That $8,000 won’t put a dent in the cost.”
If anyone would like to donate toward these projects or help on the playground community day, please contact VanDyke ator Warwick at (540) 864-5191.
Warwick and the Board agreed with Williams, “I feel if we have a community day, we will have great participation!”