CFEP grant pushes playground fundraising over top for Park Meadows

By Garrett Simmons

Lethbridge School District No. 51

Communications Officer

Wednesday morning, the Park Meadows Elementary School gym erupted in cheers.

Students, kept in suspense during a surprise assembly, eventually figured out why they were gathered together – they were getting a new playground.

As news came down earlier in the week the school had been approved for a $125,000 Community Facilities Enhancement Program grant, the funds were finally in place to begin work on the $350,000 project.

Lethbridge’s Kiwanis Club of Green Acres applied for the grant on the school’s behalf, a grant that ultimately will help see construction of the playground begin this spring.

Principal Mark Blankenstyn added the grant culminates a year and a half of fundraising.

“Approximately $100,000 has been raised by the school, parents, community and a number of fundraisers,” said Blankenstyn, who added former principal Nancy Brown and vice-principal Tavis Newman did a considerable amount of work last year to move the project forward.

With the money in place, the school will construct a new all-accessible playground, located where the old monkey bars are currently. Complete with a crushed-rubber surface, the playground will allow Park Meadows students, of all physical abilities, to play together.

The fundraising process started about a year and a half ago, according to Jennifer Rohaly, who is heading up the playground build committee. The first popcorn fundraiser brought in $6,000, and through numerous other school initiatives, such as dance-a-thons and a Halloween carnival, the total steadily increased.

“The big part now is the build itself, and getting all of the volunteers organized,” said Rohaly, who added the hope is construction can start late April or early May, with the goal to have everything completed before the end of the school year.

As the assembly drew to a close, students celebrated in a fitting manner – with a quick dance-a-thon of their own, as staff members joined in the celebration.

For more information on the playground project, which includes a video on the vision behind the playground and the list of those who donated, click here: Park Meadows Playground.

Date posted: Jan. 10, 2018

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