Thursday October 10, 2013
Last year, Rick Marcotte Central School (RMCS) parent Elizabeth Walker began serving on the school’s Playground Committee to see what improvements could be made. After having the opportunity work with fellow committee members, she discovered that portions of the playground were in dire need of an upgrade.
Through conversations with recess and School’s Out staff, she began to take a closer look at the aging wooden play structure. Not only was the paint chipping, but because it is made of pressure treated wood, it requires sanding each year. Parts for the broken slide, zip line, and other areas were either not available or costly. It soon became apparent that the maintenance costs related to the structure were not sustainable.
“The playground needed help and I made a choice to try and get a new playground approved and built for the kids and the community as a whole. With the approval and support of the RMCS PTO, school administrators, and community, I began the Rick Marcotte Central School Playground Legacy Project” Walker said.
Walker was driven in her research by her desire for South Burlington to have an accessible play structure for people of any age to enjoy. She began by investigating playground companies and driving around the state to see what other schools were doing. She looked into warranties, service records, accessibility, and STARS requirements, all while keeping the desires of school children and staff in mind. From her groundwork emerged a rough playground sketch.
By the end of April 2013, the project had been approved to fundraise for $90,000. The RMCS PTO seeded the playground fund with $15,000 in May which was matched by the Julius Stulman Foundation. The project has also received roughly $5,000 in additional support from individuals in the community. Since May of 2013, $35,000 has been raised.
The project will occur in phases with the goal of breaking ground in 2014. As soon as half of the funds needed for the project become available, half the structure will be erected, the second phase will be erected with the remaining funds. Recently, a third phase was approved due to the current fundraising success, to make the play structure fully accessible with the addition of ramps and a paved path to the structure which brings the grand total to be raised to $130,000.
“We are on a wonderful path! My husband Matthew and I are in the process of writing and submitting grants to help fund this project and are looking to gain support from businesses and community members. We are optimistic the community will come together to help make this playground happen” Walker said.
If you are interested in making a tax deductible donation to the project you can do so by writing a check made payable and sent to:
RMCS PTO (please put PLAYGROUND in the memo section) 10 Market StreetSouth Burlington, VT 05403
Or you can donate online through inlu at: www.inlu.com/RMCSplayground.
SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent