Blake Ellis/Local Journalism Initiative
Some of the staff at Lambton Centennial Public School knew their playground was not the most exciting place to play. So, they have started the Panther Playground Project to raise money for new playground equipment.
The group started talking about their plans into the summer break and so far has made a number of additions.
The school was built in 1968 and teacher Steve McGrail, said there had been equipment removed from the school grounds over the years, but nothing was added.
“There was not much left,” McGrail said when a walk through was made to inspect what kind of equipment the school had and what was needed. He said the school grounds are huge with a lot of green space
“We are shooting for the moon,” said McGrail as the group has a goal to raise $75,000. The rejuvenation has been split into three phases with the first phase already complete.
New soccer posts and two basketball fun poles have been added on the primary side of the playground so far as well as a basketball court with poles to have volleyball and badminton nets. A few picnic tables have also been added. The group raised $20,000 for the additions.
Gaga ball pits, a fitness trail, and an outdoor shelter – to be used as an outdoor classroom or school events – are up next.
The fundraising has consisted of tapping into the current families as well as the alumni of the school, and getting local service clubs involved. The hard part is keeping the project’s momentum, going, said McGrail. The school is planning to hold events this school year, which can further raise money for the project and keep it top of mind.
McGrail says the committee is being intention to make sure the new equipment as accessible as possible for every student. A fitness trail can be paved making it more accessible for students with wheelchairs and walkers. Also doing such things as lowering basketball nets and putting in smaller soccer nets can not only help those who are physically challenged, but the younger students at the elementary school as well.