Winchester playground named in honor of late 6th grade student
By Benjamin Cox, WLDS Radio
Photos/Submitted to The Source
A playground at Winchester Elementary built in honor of a late 6th grade student with a passion for helping, loving and including others has been completed.
Kerr’s Court, a basketball court and outdoor classroom area at Winchester Grade School in honor of late 6th Grade student James “Kerr” Ballard, recently saw the final touches installed at the beginning of this month.
Amanda Vortman, one of the organizers of the Kerr’s Court initiative said it all came together quickly to wrap up the project: “We purchased, at the end of the summer, some benches that are now on the perimeter of the basketball court that have ‘Kerr’s Court’ on them. It was kind of an interesting situation. We had our groundskeeper Justin Mather put those together for us, and they were just sitting on the side of the basketball court. We are currently also doing some renovation to our softball field, and the company that came to install the fencing together for the field actually offered to install the benches for us. Within a day, we had everything installed and you can now find the new seating all along the perimeter of Kerr’s Court.”
The project’s completion is two years in the making, after multiple donations of both time and money from people throughout the surrounding community to make it a reality. The funds and work have gone beyond just the basketball court and outdoor classroom. The initiative has helped install more concrete on the playground, additional paint, and renovations to the outdoor bathrooms.
Vortman says a little bit of the funds raised for the court are left over and they are currently working with school officials on how to best use it in Kerr’s honor: “I think, as of right now, the major projects that we were hopeful to complete, we have been able to complete with the installation of the benches. We are working with the school on how to best utilize the rest of the funds that we have to incorporate some other things back behind the Elementary School, which are still in the works.”
Vortman says that the overall fundraiser portion is also being wrapped up. She says Kerr’s Court will now be there for the entire community to enjoy for years to come: “It’s been overwhelming, to say the least.
As the project started out with just some renovations in the back, and now it’s been a complete overhaul to this area for our kids to go out to and have fun and enjoy their recess time. Even after school time, this area is used by our community members throughout the entire year, and so what a great asset we now have to share Kerr’s mission as far as including everybody and being kind to one another. This is shown in so many aspects of our community to be able to do this in his name and for our community.”
Vortman says that the Ballard family has been humbled by and are in admiration and appreciation for the community that’s come together to put the court together. Vortman says she’s been overwhelmed at times with emotion for the amount of generosity and thoughtfulness everyone has brought to the table in service of Kerr’s Court.