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Buncombe Commissioners Approve Playground Funding
Buncombe Commissioners Approve Playground Funding
Posted on 09/03/2020
Students at six Buncombe schools will have new opportunities for outdoor movement and play thanks to new playground funding.
Enka Intermediate staff and county Commissioners stand by their recently completed playground.
Featured Photo: On 9/2/2020, Enka Intermediate staff and Buncombe County Commissioners celebrate the recently completed playground.

By: Benjamin Rickert, BCS Communications

A student explores a piece of playground equipment during the Sept. 2 gathering.Students at six Buncombe County schools will have new opportunities for outdoor movement and play thanks to playground funding received this school year through county Commissioners. BCS’ four intermediate schools each received $15,000 and two elementary schools each received $2,500.

Enka Intermediate Principal Travis Collins was thrilled that his students will benefit from the decision, alongside North Windy Ridge Intermediate, C.T. Koontz Intermediate, Joe P. Eblen Intermediate, Johnston Elementary, and Pisgah Elementary.

"Kids need to play. Period,” said Collins. “We spend a lot of time and invest continuously in how to grow better readers, writers, mathematicians and scientists, and rightfully so. I think it's just as valuable, if not even more so, to invest in the physical and social emotional needs of the students that we serve.”

Enka’s PTO raised funds from community partners over the past two years to build their school’s first playground, with construction completed in June. At Enka, the new funding will reimburse the PTO for roughly half of the play area’s cost, allowing additional improvements and maintenance over time. At the other schools, the funding will help build new playgrounds, allow expansions, or make needed repairs.

Commissioners Belcher and Pressley climb a playground structure at Enka Intermediate.Following a June 16 move by Commissioner Joe Belcher, Buncombe County Commissioners unanimously approved the playground funding in the same decision that also fully funded the requests of Buncombe County Schools and Asheville City Schools.

Belcher and Commissioner Robert Pressley joined Enka Intermediate teachers and staff outside on September 2 to admire the recently completed playground and talk about the future. Belcher said he spoke with principals after people in the community reached out to him about school needs. His grandson – who recently attended as part of the first class of Enka Intermediate - also confirmed the need.

An Enka Intermediate staff person cleans disinfects a structure following the Sept. 2 gathering.“Every principal told me, ‘Yes, we need a playground. Yes, kids need a place to go outside,’” Belcher said. “There were so many things that were positive about doing it. So, we pushed forward and made it happen.”

Pressley agreed and said that he was glad to work with Belcher and County staff to approve the funding.

“Little things are big to our kids," he said. "I can’t wait to see the kids out here."
“The commitment of our Buncombe County Commissioners to specifically meet these needs of our students by earmarking funds for play structure construction and improvements is absolutely incredible,” Collins added. “We are so thankful for their support in making our Buncombe County schools a great place to grow, learn, and play.”

Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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