Home Life Education SNAPSHOT: Blowing Rock School playground gets much needed facelift

SNAPSHOT: Blowing Rock School playground gets much needed facelift

Mountainaire Inn & Log Cabins owner Jim McDowell preps the lower bank, below the playground, for new grass seed to be planted.

By David Rogers. August 17, 2019. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Thanks to an early school year initiative by the Blowing Rock School PTO and community volunteers, the popular playground at the school is receiving some tender-loving care. Almost three dozen parents, teachers, students, and community volunteers took part in Saturday’s work session.

COVER IMAGE: Blowing Rock School’s playground had an abundance of activity on Saturday, and it was about more than playing! All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News

“We are so thankful for the interest and attention this wonderful playground is receiving from the school, the school district, and so many parents and friends from the business community,” said Rachel Stewart, a parent who also works as a nurse. “People have donated materials, but just as important have donated their time and energy to help maintain and even improve this wonderful community asset.”

Ron Cutlip, left, and Principal Patrick Sukow cut the ribbon on the new, $300,000 playground back in October 2015, and it has become hugely popular among students and Town visitors alike.

Blowing Rock cut the ribbon on its “Rejuvenation” project in October 2015, completed at a cost of more than $300,000, all raised from private sources that included a $100,000 grant from West Palm Beach, Florida-based, The Celia and Victor W. Farris Foundation, and more than $75,000 additional cash contributions from The Ethel and W. George Kennedy Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Ted Couch, Elizabeth Muraro Dunaj, Patricia Mauldin, and Elizabeth Patterson.

This work stuff takes a lot out of a young fella!

Many local businesses and organizations have made contributions, including Town Tavern, United Community Bank, Dr. Adam Hill DDS, The Rotary Club of Blowing Rock, 4 Forty Four, Inc., Westglow Spa and Resort, Linville Resorts, Mustard Seed Market, St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church, the Blowing Rock Community Foundation and Blowing Rock Fire Auxiliary #1122.

In recent months, questions have been raised about now that the playground is in use — by many visitors to Town as well as by the school — who will help with the upkeep to extend the useful life of the equipment and the overall facility.

That question has been at least partially answered by Saturday’s PTO-led workday. From spreading mulch to hauling off wheelbarrows full of trimmings and trash, several “problems” have been addressed in the playground’s maintenance of late.

Sprucing things up!

“Stormwater rushing over the banks and onto the playground have been a real problem,” original playground designer Ron Cutlip explained to Blowing Rock News onsite, on Saturday. “The Town took care of an inadequate manhole on the edge of the parking lot that was allowing water to wash over the top of the west end of the playground, and many of the students today formed an assembly line of sorts, passing larger rocks one to another before piling them above that south wall — riff-raff to break up the flow of water down the bank so it doesn’t gush over as a big, forceful flow that erodes things.”

After a short lunch break, the work crew resumed their work, including spreading of grass seed to stop erosion on the lower bank leading down to the lower soccer and other athletic fields.

The 2019 graduates of the Blowing Rock Leadership Challenge, a Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce initiative, has a class project to build new restrooms to serve the playground so that students don’t have to re-enter the school building and Town visitors have a convenient place “…when they gotta go.”

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