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franklin county times

TES principal reflects on community effort for playground

Pre-K through second grade students at Tharptown Elementary School enjoy their new playground “every day, all day long” and Principal Ann Scott said it took the generosity and hard work of several community members to make it happen.

“We have to have a certain type of playground to be in compliance with the OSR Pre-K program,” Scott explained. A grant helped make the new $30,000 playground possible, but “our grant only

paid for the playground equipment” – not the site prep, or the required shade structure, or any other extras.

That’s where the community came in – like Chris Wallace, who donated time, materials, equipment and his experience in construction to help make the playground a reality.

It took numerous hours by numerous individuals in the hot sun – including Chris Wallace, pictured – to bring the new TES playground into operation.
It took numerous hours by numerous individuals in the hot sun – including Chris Wallace, pictured – to bring the new TES playground into operation.

“Our Pre-K teacher at the time, Monica Elliott, contacted Chris,” Scott said. “He spent his own time and used his own equipment to grade the area for the playground … He didn’t get paid anything. His was all volunteer work. The materials he used for the shade structure, he donated himself.”

Wallace, who is a Franklin County Commissioner and self-employed business owner in construction, helped to lay out and mark of the playground, grade it and build/install the required shade structure for sun protection.

Scott said the men of Tharptown Baptist Church were also instrumental – spreading gravel donated by school board member Ralton Baker and poured a concrete roadway for students to ride tricycles on, with concrete they donated. They also assisted Todd Elliott, school custodian, who worked diligently to lay sod in the playground area.

“It was a huge community effort,” Scott said. “I can’t think the gentlemen from the Tharptown Baptist Church and Chris enough for what they did. They worked many hours out there.”

The swing set and slide/climbing equipment are encircled by a fence for safety. A designated walkway ensures safe passage from the school building to the playground, and the equipment is enjoyed by TES’ four kindergarten, three first and three second grade classes, in addition to 18 Pre-K children.

All that remains, Scott said, is painting the shade structure and putting in a storage building, which is being donated by Tharptown Baptist Church.

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