“It is our dream playground. It’s the playground that compliments our community and school spirit. It was designed specifically for and by our students,” said Schortinghuis.
Barnwell’s Society of Barnwell Parents for Quality Education has been spearheading the playground initiative for the past three years, while the Barnwell School Parent Council has worked in co-operation with the society to raise over $100,000 for the highly anticipated project. But the construction of the new playground couldn’t be completed without the help of local volunteers made up of parents and the community at large.
“Our parent volunteers are the best volunteers in the world,” said Chrystal Jensen, society chair, adding fundraising activities have included serving at graduation banquets for both W.R. Myers High School and St. Mary’s in Taber and hosting Taber 3-on-3 basketball.
“These fundraisers require a substantial amount of man-power and our entire community steps forward to help every time. It is just incredible,” said Jensen.
Fundraising amounts alone couldn’t build the dream playground and the initiative needed support through grants and sponsorships such as the $125,000 Community Facilities Enhancement Program grant.
“That was such a huge amount of cash,” said Jensen. The committee also received a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta,” said Jensen.
“This local foundation does so much to boost development of all kinds in southern Alberta. We feel very fortunate to have a contribution from them. ”
The playground project was also funded by Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL) in the amount of $20,000.
“With the donation from CNRL, we will be able to install one of the most favorite pieces of equipment that students wanted us to include. It is called an ‘Apollo,’ and it offers challenging spinning and climbing play for multiple users,” said Jensen.
Local businesses have also donated equipment and time in the form of labour, as well as the countless hours of help from members of the community. “This project would not be going forward if it wasn’t for the amazing people of this community,” said Jensen.
Jensen added over a recent 4-day period there were a total of 69 volunteers helping out — collectively donating 830 hours of volunteer time.
“Some donating one hour of their time and others donating 48 hours over those 4 days,” said Jensen.
Playground construction will continue throughout the beginning of October, with an anticipated official playground opening after the Thanksgiving long-weekend.