CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – At Monday’s special Board of Education meeting held at Piedmont Elementary School, their principal, Ashley James, told board members about their plans for a new playground.
“Everybody knows Celebration Station, everybody that lives in Charleston, but it needs upgrades,” she said.
James said students alone raised over $6,000 “bringing in pennies and dollars.”
The City of Charleston and the Charleston Rotary have also raised nearly half a million dollars for the playground, said James.
It’s all in an effort to make this playground safer for students but also accessible to the community.
James described a recent incident where a homeless man was asleep on the bench during school hours.
She says there will be a playground for students only during school hours.
“There’s going to be two structures; there’s going to be a basketball court in the middle of the structure so there’s a definite line in between the two, and then we’re also going to have quite a bit of field and green space.”
Also not working out is the open-concept layout from the 60s inside Piedmont Elementary.
As the school gets HVAC improvements, staff say this is the perfect time to also install walls and doors.
“Now we know that there are so many distractions for students, it can be very hard to stay focused, not only with the other small-group learning going on but what we’re hearing from kids coming down the hallway, kids coming from the next class over and so at the same time that we do these HVAC upgrades it’s our request that we install doors and walls,” said PTO President Sarah Brien.
According to James, the open layout has not helped her recruit teachers.
And in the time of COVID, separate spaces with their own ventilation is the safest way to go for everyone.
The board gave the go-ahead to staff to get an estimate on how much doors and walls would cost.
James says she hopes to have the new playground at Piedmont ready in the Spring.