Tri­con play­ground to get up­grade

Abrupt de­mo­li­tion of un­safe equip­ment leads to fundrais­ing ef­fort

The Compass - - SPORTS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS

The chil­dren who at­tend Tri­con Ele­men­tary in Bay de Verde used to climb the lad­der to the school’s out­door slide dozens of times a day in Septem­ber.

Up-and-down, up-and-down, up-and-down, un­til the slid­ing came to an abrupt halt.

Un­safe equip­ment

At a school coun­cil meet­ing at Tri­con Oct. 4, con­cerns were raised about the school’s play­ground equip­ment. Al­though some of it was newer and in good con­di­tion, other pieces — such as a metal slide — had de­te­ri­o­rated over the years.

“There were holes in some of the slide’s steps,” prin­ci­pal Wendy ClarkeTiz­zard told The Com­pass Nov. 6. “It was well-used.”

She also said some pieces were more than three decades old. The coun­cil agreed the play­ground is­sues had to be given pri­or­ity be­cause of the sever­ity of the sit­u­a­tion and the well-be­ing of the ele­men­tary school chil­dren.

Clarke-Tiz­zard im­me­di­ately con­tacted the school board. Within 48 hours, the site was in­spected, deemed un­safe, cor­doned off, all haz­ardous equip­ment de­mol­ished by heavy equip­ment and the re­main­ing pieces were fixed up.

“One day (the equip­ment) was here,” Clarke-Tiz­zard ex­plained. “The next it was be­ing torn down.”

She said the de­mo­li­tion of the equip­ment was nec­es­sary and there are plans in place for some ad­di­tions to site.

New play­ground equip­ment

Stand­ing in the mid­dle of what ap­peared to be a large sand­box, Clarke-Tiz­zard ex­plained it would be the birth­place of a new gen­er­a­tion of play­ground equip­ment.

Some pieces were still sur­round­ing the perime­ter, in­clud­ing two swing sets, teeter tot­ters and what the prin­ci­pal re­ferred to as the “bee­hive,” — a jun­gle gym built in a semi­cir­cle. Some are painted bright colours, while oth­ers have red tape on them to pro­tect from ex­ces­sive wear and tear.

She said chil­dren were very dis­ap­pointed in los­ing their play­ground, but the tears didn’t last when the news of new play struc­tures was an­nounced.

Once back in the school, ClarkeTiz­zard pointed to two com­put­eran­i­mated pho­tos of play­ground equip­ment.

“Th­ese two pieces will be our new edi­tions,” she said, point­ing to the pic­tures.

The new equip­ment will have two new slides and plenty of climbers. The to­tal cost will be in the vicin­ity of $15,000. The money is be­ing raised by the school.

At the main en­trance, the staff has cre­ated a board thank­ing the “stars of the play­ground.” Any­one that makes a dona­tion will have a name or busi­ness name placed on a star with the amount of the dona­tion, and it will be mounted to the board.

Hindy’s Home Hard­ware in Car­bon­ear has do­nated lum­ber for benches, and the Old Per­li­can

One day (the equip­ment) was here. The next it was

be­ing torn down. — Wendy Clarke-Tiz­zard

Li­ons Club has com­mit­ted to pur­chas­ing the sec­ond piece, called the space sta­tion, at a cost of some $2,500.

So far cash do­na­tions have come in many in­cre­ments, with the Town of Old Per­li­can and the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment chip­ping in $1,000 each. They have cur­rently raised some $5,000 to date and ex­pect to con­tinue un­til the play­ground is paid for. In­stal­la­tion is ex­pected to be­gin in early spring.

Clarke-Tiz­zard told The Com­pass if fundrais­ing per­mits, the school is hop­ing to add a third piece of equip­ment as well.

There has even be dis­cus­sions among par­ents for a green space.

How can you help?

When word got out to par­ents that the play­ground would lose a lot of its play struc­tures, it was de­cided to en­ter the school in a con­test for money to help pur­chase some new equip­ment.

Aviva awards $50,000 to each win­ning or­ga­ni­za­tion that has an idea that will make a pos­i­tive im­pact in the com­mu­nity. There is a to­tal of $1 mil­lion to dis­burse.

The dona­tion is de­cided by an online vot­ing com­pe­ti­tion that takes place in three sec­tions. The top 30 from each of three qual­i­fy­ing rounds will then go head-to-head in a semi-fi­nal.

The Tri­con Ele­men­tary play­ground has made the semi-fi­nals in the small-bud­get cat­e­gory — up to $50,000 — earn­ing sixth place in the sec­ond round.

If Tri­con makes the fi­nal round, they will be given a min­i­mum of $5,000.

The semi-fi­nal round be­gins Dec. 2 and runs un­til Dec 11. To vote for Tri­con Ele­men­tary play­ground, you can visit http:// www. avi­va­com­mu­ni­ty­fund.org/ideas/acf18087.

Photo by Melissa Jenk­ins/Spe­cial to The Com­pass

Tri­con Ele­men­tary prin­ci­pal Wendy Clarke-Tiz­zard stands in the cen­tre of the school’s play­ground where sev­eral de­te­ri­o­rat­ing play struc­tures have re­cently been re­moved.

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