Just short of a year after it was built, the parents and various partners who had a hand in constructing the new playground equipment at Barrhead Elementary School (BES) gathered together for a very informal grand opening ceremony on Oct. 8.
On hand for the ribbon-cutting were representatives of the Pembina Hills School Division, the provincial government, the Barrhead Elks Lodge #332 and the BES Advisory Association (BESAA).
The new playground equipment was installed last fall; in fact, the first day it was available for the students to play on was Halloween, said BESAA member Stacy Loitz.
BES principal Dale Bujold said the students absolutely love the new playground, adding that he sees kids playing on the equipment before school, after school and on weekends.
“It’s very well-used by the community,” he said.
The approximate cost of the new playground equipment was more than $200,000 according to Loitz.
Roughly $50,000 of that was covered through a donation from the Barrhead Elks while the parents fundraised another $100,000.
Through the association’s fundraising efforts, the project was eligible for a matching Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant from the province.
Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock MLA Glenn van Dijken said the CFEP program is a matching grant that recognizes the importance of local community decision-making, adding that it was created to give projects like this a kickstart.
“I find it very gratifying to see how the local parents are very involved in the whole project,” he said.
Loitz said the project was a huge undertaking that the association would not have been able to achieve without the support of the community and their parent volunteers.
“(This represented) a huge community effort and commitment,” she said. “We are so proud of this project.”