Evans elementary playground officially opens

Sardis school playground made possible through hard work of committee and support from community and sponsors

Mayah Abelman gets ready to cut the ribbon for the new all-inclusive playground at Evans elementary school Thursday.

Mayah Abelman is “over the top excited” about the new all-inclusive playground at her school.

The Grade 5 student sped around in her wheelchair chatting with friends, teachers and EAs at the school’s grand opening celebration of the playground Thursday afternoon.

Abelman is one of about 15 students at the school who have varying abilities or special sensory needs that make enjoying a traditional playground difficult. For her, the new rubber tile ground cover makes scooting around the playground a breeze. The play structures are spaced far apart, giving ample room for navigating classmates during a busy recess or lunch hour. It’s a nice break from bumping over uneven grass and shifty sawdust, she said, where she’s more likely to get stuck.

And then there’s the playground. The swing is a large saucer, big and sturdy enough to lay down and stretch out in the sun or fly into the air. The old-fashioned, hand-spun carousel has been redesigned as a spinner. With child-friendly back rests and low-to-the-ground entry points, it looks more like a spinning pizza shell.

Finally, right in the centre of the park, there’s an open air hideaway for children to take a break from the action.

The playground has taken almost two years to build, with a massive fundraising effort carried out by a team of nine parents on a special committee.

Katrina Eng spoke on their behalf at the celebration, thanking the community and corporate sponsors for believing in the project.

In total, the playground cost $103,000, with a third of the cost going toward the special ground cover.

The accessibility is going to make a difference in the school, Eng said, but also for the community in general. Just around the corner is the Chilliwack Society for Community Living’s Mathieson Centre, and kids from that program use the playground as well.

“That’s a big part of why we brought this here,” Eng said.

Their efforts began in September 2013, and included entering in an online Avitas contest. They won $5,000 through votes from the community. They garnered support quickly and earned grants, fundraised with parent nights, and even entered a float into the Chilliwack Christmas Parade.

They had raised enough money to begin building earlier this March, completely replacing an older wooden structure, and adding to some previously purchased playground pieces.

There are now plenty of play areas to go around, and the students erupted in cheers on Thursday as the ribbon was cut.

“This is amazing,” Abelman said, waiting her turn on the giant swing. “I love everything here.”

jpeters@theprogress.com

@CHWKcommunity

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BREAKING: Homicide investigators probe suspicious death on Highway 1 north of Yale

RCMP found a person with life-threatening injuries early Wednesday, who later died at the scene

VIDEO: Chilliwack teachers give rolling award ceremony to students

Four teams of staff travel the city to hand out awards in person

Family of dead Abbotsford football star urge changes to mental health policies in hospitals

Uko family disappointed in actions of Regina hospital, hosting public funeral service this weekend

Chilliwack dad rescues his two young daughters after truck plunges into Cultus Lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

Mayor of Chilliwack says it’s time to have ‘uncomfortable conversations’ about racism

‘It’s past time we listen to those who haven’t been heard, and extend kindness to everyone,’ mayor says

VIDEO: Learning begins with new indigenous name for Chilliwack school

Stito:s La:lam Toti:lt will open in September 2022 for students from K-8

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

COVID claims 23rd Langley Lodge patient, making it the deadliest outbreak in B.C.

Coronavirus kills another senior at Langley care home, bringing B.C. total to 166

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Maple Ridge woman fights WorkSafe BC over police widow’s pension

Dalila Vroom says husband, Const. Rob Vroom, died as a result of PTSD from time with Abbotsford PD

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Most Read