The first pour-in-place playground in the public schools is being planned at Church Hill Elementary. The project is a group effort between Queen Anne’s County government, the county Board of Education and local supporters.
“It takes an entire community to provide the resources necessary in order to give our kids the best possible educational opportunities and this is a great example,” said County Commissioner Courtney Billups. Billups said the fact that no county monies were used to fund the project shows how well a collaborative effort will work toward the greater good of a community.
Grants and school fund-raisers were used to fund the project. A $73,000 Recycled Tire Grant from the state provides funds for the playground surface and an $89,000 Program Open Space Community Parks and Playground grant from the state Department of Natural Resources will be used to buy playground equipment. Another $40,000 came from fund-raisers sponsored by the Church Hill Elementary Playground Committee, with matching funds from playground equipment manufacturer GameTime.
Parent Cindy Todd is the committee chair and helped the school apply for the DNR grant. The playground committee members also coordinated with teachers in a massive student letter writing campaign to Maryland legislators to help secure the grant. Todd has been working on the project for three years and said she is eager to see its completion.
“We hope the playground will be ready by October or November but weather plays an important part in the pouring of this special rubber surface. We might not be ready until next spring,” said Todd.
“This is an excellent illustration of how things can be accomplished through collaboration. Our Board of Education, our Commissioners and our whole community focused their energy on gathering resources that would provide something needed by our children. This will be a wonderful addition to Church Hill Elementary,” said Dr. Carol Williamson, superintendent of schools.
Janet Pauls, principal at Church Hill Elementary, echoed Williamson’s sentiments. “Church Hill Elementary prides itself on placing children first. The synergy of each of these groups is another example of how teams have worked together to create enhanced opportunities for our children,” she said. Church Hill Elementary has about 360 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and serves families in central and northern Queen Anne’s County.