By Andru McCracken

Loralei climbs on the new playground at the Valemount Elementary School. /SAMARA

The Valemount Elementary School has a brand new playground and it’s a hit with kids of all ages.

Funding for the project was announced in March by the Ministry of Education, and at the time local School District Representative Bob Thompson said it was long overdue.

“Whatever the new configuration will be, it will be much better and safer, and I’m sure the students will love it,” said Thompson..

His words were prophetic.

The day after the playground was opened a parent reported that every child in the school appeared to be on the equipment or waiting to get on.

Kirby Scheller had high hopes for the playground. When the funding was announced he had hoped for a rockwall and a zipline.

There isn’t a zipline, but Scheller gives his approval anyway.

“It’s different from all the other playgrounds I have been on so far,” he said.

The only trouble with the new play area is that the intermediate kids are forced to share it with primary kids, Scheller said.

“The primaries get it for first recess for half an hour and the intermediates only get it for 15 minutes,” said Scheller.

Scheller said that the playground’s rockwall component is pretty sketchy for younger kids

“If a kid falls off [the rockwall] they are going to get really badly injured,” he said.

But other than wanting more time on the new structure, Scheller said it’s a great piece of gear for the school.

The new play area replaces an old play helicopter and a pink arched climbing structure of some age.