The 1960s-era playground at Springdale Elementary School is being converted into a workout area for both its 550 students and community residents.
Its a project Cindy Wilkerson would be proud of.
The park a partnership among school and town officials, paid for through fund-raising and donations is officially known as the Healthy Fitness Zone.
But everyone calls it Cindys Place, after the teacher who came up with the idea and championed its development prior to her death in February.
We want to offer more for families and kids, Mayor Pat Smith said.
Friends say the park is a fitting tribute to Wilkerson, who taught physical education and health at the school for more than 25 years. A sign with her name is going up shortly.
The $300,000 project will include improved athletic fields, state-of-the art exercise equipment, a short walking path, disc golf course, picnic shelters that double as outdoor classrooms and an amphitheater seating 500 when it is finished by fall 2016.
Covers with sun protection designed as sails will go above many features on the one-acre site. And the park will be lit at night to use after sunset.
Features like the amphitheater will have multiple uses for school assemblies, public meetings and entertainment.
Wilkerson came up with idea as part of her mission to prevent childhood obesity by making exercise fun while promoting changes in school meals for better health, friends say.
Her passion led the school to endorse whats known as a daily 5-2-1-0 code five servings of fruits and vegetables, a maximum of two hours watching television, an hour of physical activity and no sugary drinks.
Adherence to those ideals means kids feel better, have high self-esteem and do better in class, principal Shane Thackston said.
So far, about $70,000 has been raised for the project, much of it coming from donations generated by student runs.
Town Hall plans to install the amphitheater, while local businesses are starting to chip in and state health officials are offering advice about some aspects. County recreation officials also are handling some work.
Wilkerson saw the first steps to develop the site taken before her death at age 51, using the disc golf course with her family.
She was devoted to making the community she grew up in better, husband Jacob said.
The school long has been a center of Wilkersons family her mother taught there and a daughter just joined the facility as a third-grade teacher.
Naming the fitness area after her is a commemoration of her contagious enthusiasm, friends say.
Once she came up with the plan for it, there was never any question that it would happen, they said.
You didnt tell Cindy no, Thackston said.
Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.