CULLMAN, Ala. – The playground renovations at the Child Development Center, begun in 2017, are almost completed, with phase 2 of planning and part of phase 3 being finished. The project was estimated to take three years, and due to restrictions with the pandemic, has taken an extra two.
The old playground was 18 years old and did not meet the growing needs of the students. Principal Chris Chambers conceptualized a more inclusive playground for his special needs students as well as the surrounding community that lacks a place specialized for children with disabilities. Handicapped accessible equipment and equipment to provide a sensory experience will be included. The playground will provide students of all abilities with activities geared toward them.
The playground’s equipment was produced and installed by Fort Payne-based GameTime, at a cost of approximately $441,100.
Concrete was poured for sidewalks last week followed by poured-in-place rubber flooring and added fencing. “I’m meeting with a playground designer today to hopefully consolidate the rest of phase three-six and hopefully get it all done at one time,” said Chambers on Tuesday. The cost of the remaining phases will be less than the initial phases of construction. The project has been funded by local sponsors, donations and fundraisers at the school.
“It’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get that up and going out there. Our board and Dr. Barnette, they’ve really stepped up because we’re going to have a state-of-the-art, multi-use playground out there for occupational therapy, physical therapy, sensory, everything. It is going to be an inclusive playground where kids with disabilities and kids without disabilities can play side by side,” said Chambers.
Another project the CDC has undertaken is a sensory room, a room specifically designed to provide an enjoyable or calming multisensory experience for children, sponsored by the Cullman Association of Realtors. Chambers said that the school has already ordered the equipment for the room and should have it completed before school starts. Individual sensory areas in each classroom are also being added which students will be able to use.
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