New playground replaces antiquated equipment and will help promote healthy physical activity for over 650 students
CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE, August 9th, 2016 – Over 100 volunteers converged at East Lake Elementary School this past Saturday morning, to help finish the installation of a brand new playground that has been the vision of school officials for the past two years. Enthusiastic employees from PlayCore, a local recreation company, and members of the Kiwanis Club of Downtown Chattanooga were joined by teachers and administrators from East Lake Elementary School, to help bring the dream of a new playground for over 650 students to reality.
Determined to bridge the gap in their fundraising efforts, East Lake Elementary School was fortunate to gain assistance from multiple community partners who offered grants, services and materials, as well as labor to achieve their remaining goals. “After months of grant writing and reaching out to the local community, our fundraising efforts had finally plateaued. Thanks to the matching funds offer from Play & Park Structures, a PlayCore company, and the Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga, we were able to purchase an even larger playground than anticipated. Now our students can’t wait for their recess time, so they can all play together on this engaging new structure!” stated Mrs. Lancaster, Principal at East Lake Elementary School.
Earlier in the year, the Kiwanis Club organized a Business Pentathlon event in which local companies fielded teams of four to seven employees that were combined with East Lake teachers, parents, and their children. These teams then competed in five different athletic events to determine the overall champions that would be recognized on a special sign mounted at the new playground site. Participants in this Pentathlon included Chattanooga Area Schools Federal Credit Union, Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union, Miller and Martin, Aladdin Printing, Brock Insurance Agency, PlayCore, Collier Construction, Elliot Davis Decosimo, and Southern Champion Tray. “We hope to present this Pentathlon event on an annual basis so that we can fund new playgrounds for deserving communities every year here in the greater Chattanooga area” stated Robert Dann, Chairman of the Kommandos Committee for the Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga. Each team donated $500 to provide a team for the competition, and the overall champions were the teams from Chattanooga Area Schools Federal Credit Union and PlayCore.
Mr. Robert Farnsworth, CEO of PlayCore remarked “It is so heartwarming to see the business community come out and wholeheartedly support the effort to bring healthy, physical play opportunities to underserved communities. We are excited to be a part of this new playground installation.”
Several companies also provided grants for the playground equipment, including Lowe’s and the Tennessee Valley Authority. In order to prepare the site for installation, Blue Line Rentals and Tag Equipment generously provided a bobcat and 12” auger, respectively. Goodwill industries provided a large trailer to store the playground materials on site, and Sequatchie Concrete delivered the concrete materials to help secure the final phase of the playground installation.
East Lake Elementary is a Title 1 school with a diverse population of just over 650 students. They are currently at 133% of their student capacity, and 100% of the children receive free lunches. The existing playground is about 12 years old, has broken parts, and only accommodates about half of the students during their recess rotation. The school was in desperate need of a larger, safer playground so that all of the students would have an opportunity to play.