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

 

Just Posted

PHOTO: Rain in the forecast Sunday, sun expected by Tuesday in Chilliwack

Chilliwack has been treated to fairly warm and dry weather over the past two weeks

PHOTOS: Hand-made creations galore at Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market

The 45th annual event features 180 vendors and is a fundraiser for the Chilliwack Community Arts Council

Warrant issued for Chilliwack prolific offender

Do not attempt to apprehend David Allen Geoghegan, 29, police caution

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

VIDEO: New supportive housing in Chilliwack almost ready to welcome residents

Grand opening Friday saw dignitaries join with health, policing, and housing reps on Trethewey

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Paul Bissonnette joins Vancouver Warriors after tweeting he could walk on to an NLL club

Bissonnette will join the Warriors for their final week of training camp at Rogers Arena

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Body found after SUV found fully engulfed in flames in Abbotsford field

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team have been called in

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

Most Read