Heron’s Crossing School one step closer to new playground
By: Allison Chorney
| Posted: Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 10:13 am
Students at Heron’s Crossing School may soon be burning off extra energy on a new playground thanks in part to a joint $15,000 donation from area builders Excel Homes, McKee Homes and Hopewell Development Corporation on June 12.
“I had tears,” said Friend’s of Heron’s Crossing Fundraising Team Chair Yvonne Walker of when she found out about the donation. “It’s awesome. It’s amazing.”
“This is going to be a long-lasting legacy here in the community,” said Mayor Peter Brown as he introduced the builders at the June 12 assembly at the school.
Hopewell’s Scott Hamilton told students the three builders knew the students were working toward a new playground and wanted to do something to help them reach their goal.
The school’s fundraising team has already raised $35,000 in the last two years through monthly bottle drives, Christmas fairs and pizza lunch days at the school.
The donation from the builders will make it possible to begin construction on the $50,000 first phase of the planned three phase natural playground.
“We have absolutely nothing. Just a gravel pit,” Walker said of the school’s current playground options.
She said though the design of the playground will be voted on by staff and students at the school the final product will be a natural-themed play area located to the north of the portables at the school.
Walker said it will not be the swing and slide area many think of for a playground but will instead be a combination of traditional playground equipment and an extensive natural playground with wooden stumps to climb on, climbing rock walls, wooded tunnels, stepping stones, sand areas and a water feature.
Walker said the playground will provide a play area for students and the community but will also allow learning to move outside where the kids can explore curriculum through sand and water activities in the playground.
“It will offer something different than the typical or normal (playground),” Walker said.
The three phases of the playground are expected to cost about $200,000 in total but Walker said this donation will allow them to begin the process and hopes to have phase one in place within a year. She added the team will continue to raise funds for each additional phase and hope to have all phases completed within two years.
“It all depends on how much money we can raise and which playground is picked,” she said in an email to Airdrie City View.
The school opened in November of 2012 without a playground because playgrounds are not included in funding from Alberta Education when building a school.