Sep. 16—Horse Creek Academy is working toward expanding its playground and making it more inclusive, and it needs help from the community.
The charter school is in the running for the Legacy of Play Contest after being nominated by the Kiwanis Club of Aiken. The contest, which is through the Kiwanis International Club and Landscape Structures Inc., will award $25,000 in playground equipment to be used toward a playground project, said Sarah Morris, the assessment and community relations director at HCA.
"We are the only entity in Aiken nominated for the contest," Morris said.
There are three nominees from South Carolina, including Horse Creek, with the other two being in Greenwood and Rock Hill.
If Horse Creek Academy wins, Morris said the $25,000 will go toward its playground renovation project, which includes making the playground more accessible to students with different needs.
"If we get it... it will help us cover phase two of our renovation and that includes a new play structure, and we really want that structure to have a ramp on it for wheelchair and walker access," Morris said. "It would also cover a swing set (with an adaptive swing)."
According to the Kiwanis International website, any school that enters the contest and continues with its plans will get complimentary playground equipment designed with inclusion in mind.
Dustin Ennis, the vice president of the Kiwanis Club of Aiken, said the club nominated Horse Creek Academy because the school has grown and what they have is outdated. The club has partnered with the school through the K-Kids program for elementary school, the Builders Club for middle school and will incorporate the Key Club with the high schoolers.
"We wanted to do everything we can do support that facility and help them with that," Ennis said.
Morris said they are excited for the competition because getting $25,000 would be a big help because "playgrounds are not cheap."
"Even though most of our learning takes places in the classroom a lot takes place through play. We're excited about it," Morris said.
There is also a long-term goal of opening this playground up for the public to use with a low cost facility rental, Morris said.
Voting for the competition opens on Sunday and people can vote online at play.kiwanis.org. The voting period ends Sept. 30 and then the top 10 recipients of the popular vote will be determined. Kiwanis International will pick the winner from the top 10, Morris said.
The winner will be announced Oct. 13.
For more information about Horse Creek Academy's plans for its playground, visit www.kiwanis.org.