Chelsea Park Elem. celebrates opening of new playground

Published 2:52 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2019

CHELSEA – Chelsea Park Elementary School’s older students will now have the same opportunities for outdoors fun as their younger classmates thanks to a new playground at the school.

A ribbon cutting ceremony with school, city and Parent-Teacher Organization officials, along with representatives of The Shelby County Chamber, was held on Tuesday, Jan. 15.

All 875 students at Chelsea Park Elementary also participated, Principal Jennifer Galloway said.

“We wanted to make sure they got to take part in the event, and it was a lot of fun,” Galloway said.

Built more than 10 years ago for grades kindergarten through third grade, Chelsea Park’s playground was designed for students through the second grade.

After changes yielded a school that served students through fifth grade, the older three grades did not have a playground they could use, as students instead played on basketball goals and other activities.

“It started off with a few third grade students requesting, ‘We’d like a place we can play on too,’” Galloway said about conversations during the previous school year. “That sparked it.”

Most of the funds needed for the playground were generated through a Boosterthon event, in which community members pledged money based on laps ran by students in the event.

The goal of $30,000 for the Boosterthon in September 2018 was met, Galloway said, and funds were also contributed by former Alabama Sen. Slade Blackwell, through a Student Council yard sale and from the school PTO.

The playground was designed as age appropriate for third, fourth and fifth graders, and includes various slides and tunnels along with monkey bars and other activities.

“The kids are super excited,” Galloway said. “They’ll play on it a little bit more when the weather improves, during recess time, but most of them bring jackets and bundle up even this time of the year. They’ll be out there.”

Galloway thanked the parents and other community members who contributed to the project through Boosterthon donations and other efforts.

“It’s just really important for our administration and faculty for our students to get up and get out every day,” she said. “They need to get out there so they can learn how to interact with each other—those physical, emotional and social aspects of development.”