DUNWOODY, Ga. — Students, parents and officials at Kingsley Elementary School turned out Friday for the official opening of a newly renovated playground.
The event marked the culmination of a four-year fundraising campaign by parents and local community groups.
“It’s new and exciting…the excitement of the students is what’s most important,” Kingsley Principal Melanie Pearch said. “They need the outlet. We know kids come up here on the weekend. We want it to be a community field.”
For years, the school pushed to update the playground as the previous grounds remained outdated and primarily unused by the 440 students who attend the school. Parent volunteers, PTO and community business sponsors worked to raise the funds needed to create a contemporary environment for safe play and daily use. It was through their donations to the Kingsley Derby fundraiser and Kingsley Annual Fund that the long-term goal was finally reached.
“The playground was outdated and very old,” PTO co-President Tova Norman said. “There were some things that only older kids could use and younger kids could use…we wanted something that all of the kids could use.”
Norman said the PTO is happy with the way the grounds turned out – a testament to the hard work of volunteers who came together for one ideal.
Although Kingsley remains Dunwoody’s smallest elementary school, there is a sizable number of special needs students in attendance. With equipment over 20 years old, it was time to create a playful habitat for a new generation, parents said. In order to create an environment assessable to each child, certain features were added to accommodate the many different types of students.
“They poured rubber surfacing allows a smoother surface for students who use wheelchairs or who have gross motor coordination difficulty,” said Vanessa Pye, a parent volunteer and Derby Committee member. “We wanted to include items that fit with our recent STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) certification; this was accomplished with ground level activities like the piano and drum panels and various climbing obstacles.”
Students cheered and ran toward their new play hub while parents and teachers discussed their satisfaction with the much-needed addition. Bearing a modern and sleek appearance, the playground encapsulates the interests of each age group.
“The playground is a major visual representation of the years of hard work through fundraising and volunteer efforts,” Pye said. “Our hope is that the new playground will instill a sense of pride and school spirit in the students and parents of Kingsley Elementary.”