A playground two years in the making is finally ready to be climbed, balanced and trampled on.
South Nelson Elementary held a grand opening Oct. 30 for its new natural play area, which features an outdoor classroom and according to acting principal Monica Doyle looks like the setting of a Dr. Seuss book.
“It’s full of imagination, because it’s not your typical slides and swings and plastic,” said Doyle. “It’s beautiful logs and we have a twisty log that is the coolest feature that the builder had found three and a half years ago and he just took it to his warehouse because he said he knew there would be the perfect project and this was it.”
Doyle credited the playground to a dedicated parent advisory committee led by Marya Skrypiczajko, Daphne Powell, Sarah Murray and teacher rep Susanne Maguire. Doyle said they met two years ago to brainstorm ideas for a renovated playground and then did the work applying for grants to fund the $100,000 project.
Work first began by the school’s PAC 15 years ago to beautify the playgrounds by adding flowers and re-painting equipment.
“They had this idea of having a natural playground many, many years ago, but of course it takes funding,” said Doyle.
That funding came through donations from CC Sushi, Georama Growers, Urban Systems, Canadian 2 For 1 Pizza, McNally Excavating, School District 8, the City of Nelson, the Regional District of Central Kootenay and a $33,000 grant from Columbia Basin Trust.
Construction began in the summer and included five consecutive days of work in August by Eric Menard and two other workers from Chilliwack’s Coast Timber Frame and Log, as well as plenty of parent volunteers. The surface was finally completed last month.
On Monday a ribbon-cutting ceremony included Mayor Deb Kozak, councillors Valerie Warmington and Michael Dailly, trustee Curtis Bendig and CBT board member Am Naqvi. Once that was over, the playground was turned over to the people most excited for it to be finished — South Nelson students.
“It truly is a great example of a school and a greater community working together and it’s going to benefit the whole community,” said Doyle.