ALDERSHOT, NS - After months of hard work, Aldershot Elementary School finally has a new playground.
In November 2016, school board maintenance staff were called to inspect the two onsite play structures, explains school parent, Janice Sanford. Unfortunately, the structures had deteriorated to the point where it was unsafe for the kids to play on them.
“The following day, the big equipment was moved in to remove the structures,” says Sanford. “The students watched with their classrooms as their play equipment was taken away. It was a very sad day.”
This prompted a year-long fundraising campaign, with Sanford in charge of grant writing, to raise $60,000 for the new playground. The PTA raised the funds through fundraisers and the 50/50 draw at Kentville Foodland, which was instrumental is helping the PTA reach their goal so quickly, says Sanford.
Other supporters included rotary and employees and management of Michelin's Waterville plant. Grants were received from the Municipality of the County of Kings and the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
The PTA had previously fundraised $25,000 over a period of three years prior to November 2016, says Sanford, with the goal of replacing the monkey bars that were taken out during the 2013-2014 school year.
“Through the 50/50 with Kentville Foodland and various other small fundraisers - Spring Fling and Paint Night - another $35,000 was raised from December 2016 to fall of 2017,” Sanford said.
While the old playground was made of wood and metal, the new structure is very durable and is constructed with metal and poly. The new playground, particularly the largest structure, was chosen so that all children could play on it, including those with disabilities, says Sanford.
The school has recently purchased a shipping container to store items for loose part playground items, after having received the training from the recreation staff at the Municipality of the County of Kings about this new type of playground. This spring, the school will send out information and posting on social media about what is needed for the loose parts playground.
Other final touches that will be completed this spring include the installation of basketball hoops, park benches, and some landscaping.
For now, the students are excited to play on the new structure.