EARLY YEARS: New playground at Glenvar Elementary allows children of all abilities to enjoy time outdoors

Roanoke County officials say all school playgrounds will have similar upgrades
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:45 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -Whitney Franklin’s daughter, Lilly loves this new playground at Glenvar Elementary School.

She especially loves going down the slide.

“Really it gives her the independence to be able to play. It’s a safe space for her with the teachers having to hover over top of her,” says Franklin.

Roanoke County School board chairman Brent Hudson was the point person in making this playground happen.

He says the makeover was badly needed.

“Actually, a parent had reached out to me with some concerns that there really isn’t a suitable area for kids to be able to play that had physical disabilities and challenges .And as a parent with a child with physical challenges, I really took that to heart. :I came out and looked, and it was literally a dirt pile with some wood chips and some very antiquated toys and I thought, we got to do better than this,” says Hudson.

Hudson says the rest of the Roanoke County School Board agreed to invest the $80,000 for construction of the playground.

Mulch was replaced with rubber, allowing the use of wheelchairs.

That’s made all the difference for Jacob Bond’s daughter, Adalynn.

“Adalynn loves to make noise. She likes to bang on things. Yeah. And she loves to sing. She loves going down a slide and just having the ability to get around the entire playground,” says Bond.

And what’s even better, these changes aren’t just happening at Glenvar Elementary.

“Something else that we did was also replace all of our playgrounds -- we had put in a two year plan in, because our playgrounds really weren’t ADA compliant.

They were all just 25-plus-year-old playgrounds.

So every one of our schools is getting updates,” says Hudson.