HomeBensalem TimesBelmont Hills Elementary celebrates grand opening of new playground

Belmont Hills Elementary celebrates grand opening of new playground

$25,000 was raised for the project in October, when Principal McGowan pledged to sleep on the roof

Playtime: Belmont Hills students enjoy the new playground equipment. Submitted Photo

Students, teachers, parents and community members gathered earlier this month at Belmont Hills Elementary School in Bensalem to celebrate the grand opening of a much-needed, brand-new playground. 

The kids were all smiles as they tested out the equipment, which includes navy blue slides, teal ladders and monkey bars. It replaces the old, outdated set, which would slightly squeak and shake if used by too many kids at once. 

In total, the new playground cost approximately $60,000. While some money was already available for the project, $25,000 had to be raised last fall in order to bring it to fruition. 

Thinking outside the box, Belmont Hills Principal Kelly McGowan decided to turn the fundraising process into an exciting one by making a pledge: if the remaining funds could be collected, she’d sleep on the roof of the school for one night. 

Within a mere four weeks, thanks to the efforts of the student body, local organizations and businesses, the $25,000 goal was surpassed.

Team effort: The Belmont Hills community raised $25,000 for the new playground after Principal Kelly McGowan pledged to sleep on the roof of the school. Submitted Photo

While some students thought McGowan was only joking about her pledge, she was true to her word and, on Oct. 27, 2023, she packed a tent, sleeping bag, neon lights and other needed supplies.

With the assistance of the Cornwells Fire Company #1 and Bensalem Township Police Department, she made her way to the top of the building as her Belmont family cheered her on from below. 

On Facebook Live, McGowan chronicled her experience. She even got creative when it came to sustenance, with pizza raised up to her in a laundry basket. When it came time to head back down the following morning, her Belmont students were on hand to greet her. 

And McGowan couldn’t have been prouder of them. 

“They’re community-oriented. They want to be successful,” McGowan told CBS News of her students prior to her ascent in October.

Now, the new playground serves as a reminder of not only McGowan’s impressive feat, but of how the Belmont community united as one to achieve a goal. 

Brand new: Fresh equipment was much needed, as the old playground set was squeaky and shaky. Submitted Photo

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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