Early Learning Center Holds Ribbon Cutting for Splash Pad

The long wait has finally ended! After nearly two years of development, Early Learning Center (ELC) held its ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, September 20, 2022. The initial groundbreaking for the Splash Pad took place on April 1, 2021, and was hampered by supply chain issues. The Splash Pad is a way of introducing children to water play in a safe environment and as a way of escaping the muggy summer heat.

Board members, school and district staff, elected officials, representatives from the Chamber and the community, and ELC students were all in attendance for the ribbon cutting ceremony. "The idea came from a board retreat back in 2020," said Board Chair John Jackson, "Dr. Noris Price and the Early Learning Center Director at that time, Lori Smith, presented the very exciting idea of having a Splash Pad here. We were blown away by the idea and the opportunity of having our children play in the water and learn about water safety."

The only hurdle was how to fund such an innovative undertaking. "It's much more than a normal playground," said Jackson. Dr. Price and Ms. Smith applied for a grant and were able to receive the necessary funding to build the Splash Pad.

Teachers were trained extensively on the splash pad in August, which includes jetting streams of water that arc high into the air and runs through a cycle of different patterns across the padded concrete. Play on the splash pad is treated as a field trip, with students receiving special permission from their parents to participate.

With the new Splash Pad, Baldwin County has paved the way for other school districts to create and maintain their own splash pads as well as provide enrichment opportunities for students.