Valley Elementary School students worked together to cut the ribbon, officially opening the school's new adaptive playground on April 28. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)
Valley Elementary School students worked together to cut the ribbon, officially opening the school's new adaptive playground on April 28. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Archived Story

VES cuts ribbon on adaptive playground

Published 12:04pm Monday, April 28, 2014

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Valley Elementary School celebrated the hard work and generosity of many with an April 28 ribbon-cutting ceremony, officially opening the school’s newly built adaptive playground.

PTO president Kelly Windham started the project to build the first phase of the adaptive playground, including a specially-designed swing set and landscaping work, at the beginning of the school year.

“It just looked so bad,” Windham said of the space now occupied by the playground. “These children deserved better. They deserved a place they could get out to enjoy the sunshine.”

Windham and the PTO spearheaded fundraising for the project.

“People have been very generous,” Windham said. “It didn’t take any convincing to get (fundraising) done.”

The planning and landscaping work was largely done by Lowrey Young, a local Eagle Scout from Troop 367. Young went to Valley Elementary School and his mother works with the special education students at the school.

“This (project) was near and dear to my heart and hers,” Young said.

When Young first saw the playground area, it was in disrepair. There was pine straw everywhere, no fence enclosure, drainage issues and the specialized wheelchair swing couldn’t move, he said.

Young put in a month of planning and preparation, followed by countless hours of physical work in the playground to fix it up, build a fence and make it safe for the children.

“I spent all of my spring break working out here,” Young said.

The playground now has an even sod surface, cushioned mulch under the swings, a fence-enclosure and is entirely wheelchair accessible.

Young thanked all of the volunteers who helped him with the project, noting that people were “so generous” with their time and donations. Although the next phases of improvements for the adaptive playground won’t fall under his Eagle Scout project, he said he is “more than willing to come back and help.”

Valley Elementary students worked together to cut the ribbon on April 28, opening their new playground, and although it has been a long process to get to this point, Windham said it has all been worthwhile.

“Too see how excited they are, it’s definitely been worth it,” Windham said.

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