New play areas promise boundless learning, fun for kids, adults
July 22, 2010
By L.A. Shively
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Fort Sam Houston Child, Youth & School Services joined Family and MWR patrons to officially unveil five new play areas on post.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony July 16, near the play structure at the Splash Pad, introduced the concept of Boundless Playground to the Fort Sam Houston community.
Boundless Playgrounds are constructed so that children and adults of all ages with disabilities or limited mobility can use the structures alongside those without physical challenges.
Previously the play areas on post did not accommodate people with physical challenges, said Brenda Berry, chief, Child, Youth & School Services. "Now everyone has access."
Berry highlighted the durability and safety features of the design and construction of the play areas during her remarks.
"These are built to last 50 years," she said. "With the rubberized surface, fall zones are made so that the impact would be much less."
Construction for each of the playgrounds cost approximately $350,000 for a total investment of $1.75 million for the state-of-the-art equipment.
Playgrounds are located at Salado Creek Park, CDC Building 2530, Middle School Teen Center Building 2515, Watkins Terrace/Dodd Baseball Fields and at the Splash Pad, between School Age Services and Youth Services on Watkins Blvd.
"It is our duty to provide better and safer play opportunities in a more esthetically pleasing environment," said Michael Waldrop, deputy to the garrison commander. "If I was their age, I'd love it."
Kristen Ignot guided her 8-year-old daughter Alana, in a wheelchair, through the structure, stopping to let her ring giant chimes at one station and twirl plastic balls inside a see-through chamber at another.
"It helps with her development and interactions with the kids," Ignot said. "She loves the music, the sounds and the different things that swirl."
Over at the Splash Pad, children cavorted in the water.
"We get to splash and we get to scream. Those buckets are cool," said 5-year-old Adrian Puentes, referring to suspended buckets that fill with water, then tip over mimicking a waterfall.
"This is the only post that I've been to that has something like this, so it is really beneficial," said Stephanie Wezel, a pre-kindergarten teacher with the Child Development Center.
"If we didn't have this, I guess we'd do water time with a sprinkler and hose, but that's not as much fun. This is something special and they look forward to it."