Charlotte ISD improves the playing field for a fresh start

After accepting the playground grant, Charlotte ISD said goodbye to the old elementary playground and welcomed a new playground that meets ADA guidelines for students to enjoy during many years.

The old playground was about 26 years old with broken slides and fine gravel that needed to be removed to improve child safety. The new playground features a zipline, new swings, five slides, a small rock wall, carousel, revolving mushroom, saucer arch swing, artificial mulch, monkey bars and two canopies.

During the process of establishing the new playground, the grant was approved to match the budget funds of $200,000 and the school board approved $300,000 for this project to cover some freestanding features. The company, Gametime, worked with Charlotte ISD to ensure expectations were met to provide students with an improved play area.

Monica Luna, a fifth-grade math teacher who serves as the principal intern, had the opportunity to lead the grant process to get the application approved. Luna said only a few schools were selected to be approved for the grant in the region. After the grant confirmation was approved, she received help from South Texas Territory Sales Manager for Gametime Playgrounds, Todd Miller. With her help, Luna said they decided to choose a large, safe playground for children aged 4 to 12.

“As a teacher I’m limited to my class, but as a senior intern I’ve had the opportunity to have a bigger impact on campus and it’s just a great feeling,” said Luna. “I’m glad to see [students’] faces when they see the playground and can actually play it with the different features it has. I appreciate the board and all it does for the school.

Luna went on to say that Gametime took all the old playground equipment when they tore it down and there were no pieces left to save for the school.

The board and Superintendent Jon Orozco realized that kids needed to be kids and play on an improved playground – which is better for students at Charlotte Elementary.

“I would probably say we have the best playground in South Texas, at least in Atascosa County,” Orozco said. “I’m thrilled that our kids have the opportunity to play something that even new schools don’t have.”

At the regular Charlotte ISD board meeting on July 20, the board and Orozco discussed how the playing field features were a bit questionable as to where things would be placed.

Orozco plans to work with the vendors and installer to ensure the play area is fully satisfactory in terms of council approved equipment.

“I think it’s important to let the board know because they have expectations of what’s going to be delivered and it’s my job to make sure those things are delivered,” Orozco said.

Harold B. McConnell