The last Friday in April was a very happy and physical day for the students at Ecoff Elementary. Not only was it Field Day, it was also the day they celebrated Playground Renewal and dedicated their playground with a new track and being able to enjoy recess without having to wade through puddles the day after a rain.
Community sponsors, Vulcan and Austin Brockenbough Engineering and Consulting, as well as county officials and support personnel, paid a visit during break time from Field Day to help dedicate the renewed playground. Students gather on the basketball court while Dr. Joshua Cole, principal, gave reason for their gathering. At the conclusion, the first walk around the track led the students back to Goyne Park for an afternoon of playtime and activities with volunteering parents and staff.
PTA president Liz Prillaman brought the proposal to Dr. Cole that the PTA wanted to begin a project of refurbishing the playground. With their coordination, the project was made possible through contributions, from the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors and the Bermuda representative, Dorothy Jaeckle, Chesterfield County Public Schools and the Bermuda School Board representative, Carrie Coyner, Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation, Ecoff Elementary PTA and community partners, Vulcan Materials and Patient First. The project was completed during Spring Break.
Early interest in the school year by the school’s administration and PTA to provide a safe and useful track area were brought to life by David Warrier, of Austin Brockenbough Engineering and Consulting, who was in attendance during the dedication, as a donation to the school’s population and surrounding community. A total of $35,000 through donations, inkind services and county support was raised for the project.
Prillaman said this was phase one of a three-phase project. “Fund raising continues and our next task is landscaping the playground,” she said. The new track is just short of a quarter mile and she hopes the community will enjoy the playground. “It is open to the community and we want it to become a community hub. There are neighborhoods that back up to the playground and would love to see people out here.”
School Board Representative Carrie Coyner said she helped connect the dots for the funding. Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle used a portion of Bermuda’s District Funds for the project. “We promote wellness in our schools,” said Coyner. “We are looking at the future of our playgrounds that they are designed to promote fitness. The more we can build tracks at our schools, the more it will encourage kids to be active. This is what we hope for all of our schools in the future – to have a track.”