WES celebrates new playground

Elmore County Publoc Schools Superintendent Richard Dennis cuts the ribbon in celebration of the new Wetumpka Elementary School playground. (Amalia Kortright/The Herald)

Students, faculty and staff at Wetumpka Elementary School commemorated the opening of its new playground during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the morning of Dec. 18.

According to WES principal Bonnie Sullivan, the 3,000-square foot playground offers students many more physical fitness opportunities and has more features than the previous playground.

“There’s a lot more climbing, it’s more innovative and more attractive for the kids. They won’t all go to one slide to slide down. There are multiple activities,” Sullivan said. “We’re just thrilled to have a new playground for the kids and to make our community a better place.”

Sullivan said she spent about six years working to raise funds for the playground before receiving a grant from Game Time.

Because of several safety issues associated with the school’s old playground, Elmore County Public Schools Superintendent Richard Dennis said the school was in dire need of a new one.

“The other one had parts that we had to take off because they were broken,” Dennis said. “Everything now is brand new, (and) we’ve got fresh mulch out here for potential falls.”

For many students, Sullivan said playing outdoors is a favorite pastime at school.

“They love coming outside and playing, and they’ll have a time to come outside and take a break from learning every day,” Sullivan said. “As kids, we all loved playing outside on the playground and this is just something that will make them look forward to coming to school every day.”

Dennis expressed his congratulations to WES and said the playground will serve as a great asset to the school.

“I have four children and that is a place that they would have loved because you can have some nice activities on a playground like that,” Dennis said. “If you look at it, you can go all the way without touching the ground.”

Throughout the previous week, Sullivan said about 25 volunteers a day helped build the new playground under the direction of Game Time supervisor Drew Warren.

Sullivan said Dennis, members of the Elmore County Board of Education, a team of about five representatives from the Lowe’s Hero Project, the Wetumpka Fire Department, the Elmore County Public Schools maintenance crew, the Wetumpka High School agricultural class, representatives from Alabama Power, Wetumpka Rotary Club member Matt Rogers, retired BOE member Larry Teel and Elmore County Commission chairman Troy Stubbs all participated in the playground’s construction.

“That was a lot of people volunteering their time, especially during the week,” Sullivan said.

As for the old playground, Sullivan said it was sold to Faith Baptist Church in Wetumpka.

“It’s going to a good home,” Sullivan said.