By Julia Brouillette
An excited crowd of Cora Kelly students and staff gathered behind the school for the unveiling of their long-awaited new playground June 19.
Work on the playground, which has spent years in planning, resumed last month following an 18-month delay. Final safety inspections took place earlier this month.
“The journey had some highs and some lows — maybe more lows than highs,” admitted Ashley Chappell, a member of the school’s PTA.
The new play space is geared toward physical education, inclusivity and furthering the school’s focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“We wanted it to serve as a tool for [physical education] teachers and classroom teachers to talk about health and childhood obesity. We wanted a playground that inspired movement, activity and creativity. But most of all, we wanted it to be fun,” Chappell said.
With elaborate apparatuses — including multiple slides, swings and climbing equipment — the play area caters to children of all ages, sizes and abilities.
As a grandparent who regularly visits neighborhood playgrounds, Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Morton Sherman stressed the importance of playtime during recess as well as outside school hours.
“Don’t think for a moment that that playground is just to be used during recess only — that’s important — but it’s also to be used on the weekends and after school,” he told students. “I hope that you use this playground with the spirit that it’s intended, which is to have fun, to be together and to do good things.”