On a chilly November day in Albuquerque, more than 50 volunteers came together to transform a worn-out basketball court at South Valley Academy (SVA) into a brand new Multi-Sport Court. The outdated SVA court had seen better days, and students at the public charter middle and high school weren’t using the space.
“When we had our old court, nobody played on it,” said Samantha Roybal, a junior at SVA.
Understanding that play is essential to the health of young people, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) donated the $70,000 Multi-Sport Court to the SVA community. The school serves more than 650 students, all of whom qualify for free or reduced-price lunch benefits.
Students at SVA helped plan the space and selected a design that would accommodate three different sports – basketball, volleyball and soccer. The customizable court features adjustable basketball hoops, a removable volleyball net, and shock-absorbent polypropylene titles, which provide a safer play area than typical concrete courts.
“Now, people will play,” said SVA junior Abdel Benselka Dimas.
Volunteers from BCBSNM, SVA and the community helped build the new play area, including benches, tables and recycling bins to make the surrounding space more inviting. On the day of the unveiling, students broke in the new court with a basketball tournament, one of many to come for SVA.
“South Valley Academy is thrilled and grateful to have received the Multi-Sport Court,” said Julie Radoslovich, SVA principal and director. “The Multi-Sport Court shows that BCBSNM is really invested in the health of our children and families in this community.”
The Multi-Sport Court – the first one donated by BCBSNM — is part of an effort led by BCBSNM with help from KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to giving all kids the childhood they deserve through play. Since 2012, BCBSNM has donated five playgrounds, 16 Imagination Playgrounds and now one Multi-Sport Court to communities statewide.