Jane Lew Elementary School preschool students now enjoy an updated playground, thanks to the efforts of Dominion Energy.
Employees, under the direction of Southern Area Manager Jason Drummond, expanded the fence, installed a large shade pavilion, installed a new swing set and chalkboards, and installed a culvert for water runoff from the hill behind the school.
“Dominion Energy is proud to support community initiatives that benefit area children by creating a safer environment for them to play and learn,” Dominion Energy West Virginia’s Corportate Communications representative, Samantha Norris, said.
Dominion’s history in Lewis County dates back over 100 years.
The project has been in the works for a few years, and JLES Principal Denise Sprouse said they have been working with Head Start, as well, to ensure the new playground meets all safety requirements.
Norris said projects like this one benefit a local school and the children that attend. “It’s a great opportunity to get these kids out and active,” she added.
“I’m so excited I can’t hardly stand it,” preschool teacher Brenda Riffle said.
Riffle said last year some parents built sand and water tables, two play cars, and a music wall. She plans to invite last year’s preschool students to play on the new playground this upcoming school year.
“Our 65 volunteers are excited to be out in the community, helping to make these playgrounds safer and more engaging for the hundreds of children that play here,” Norris added.
Sprouse shared Riffle’s sentiments, saying, “We’re excited the playground is expanded so when we have multiple Pre-K classes they have a place to play.”
Last year, JLES had 60 students in preschool.
Dominion began thinking about this project as far back as 2015.
Employees volunteering on the project dug up dirt from the end of the building to the current play area, then added gravel and mulch. The shade structure is 20 ft. by 50 ft.
Two climbing animals and four spring toys were brought from the older students’ playground and placed in the preschool playground.
The sidewalk is now padded for safety, and picnic tables for children were installed. A water fountain was previously installed by School employee Roger Flesher.
“It’s fantastic-almost overwhelming,” Riffle said.
Volunteerism is an important part of Dominion Energy’s business strategy, Norris said. The company’s WV employees donated close to 3,500 hours to community causes, and will donate even more in 2018.
Dominion Energy donated almost 600 volunteer hours to the JLES playground. They also chose to use local companies for some work that was beyond what Dominion Energy was capable of on their own.