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Granum school playground expansion a community project

The new climbing apparatus in the Granum school playground.

When students return to Granum school in the fall, they’ll find a pleasant surprise waiting in the playground.

Not that the new playground equipment will wait until fall to be used.

Children in the community were riding new swings and spinners and trying out the climbing wall soon after the equipment was installed last month.

The project, which totalled close to $90,000 through fund-raising, grants and in-kind donations, was an initiative of Granum school council.

“We started this project with the middle school aged students and preschool children in mind,” playground committee chair Sara Brobbel explained. “The current playground, built in 2004, is still in mint condition and serves the needs of the younger children but lacked challenging equipment for the older students.”

The east end of the playground has more challenging equipment for middle school children.

The north end has lower swings for preschool children. Two spinners were also added to the playground.

One of the new spinners at the Granum school playground.

“This project was important for the school in that it gives the older students a larger, more age appropriate area to play on during recess time,” Granum school principal Nick Beer said.“It allows older kids another way to stay active during recess breaks and we want our students to remain active.”

“It also increases the amount of swings for kids to use. Swings are a hot commodity at recess so this allows more students to be on swings simultaneously.”

Brobbel said Granum school, which has Kindergarten to Grade 9 students, is an important part of the community.

“Granum is home to a number of young families and we recognized a need for some swings for preschool children, which expanded to also serve our younger students with extra swings,” Brobbel said. “We are very proud of the result that now all our students have play structures fitting their age together with offering the Granum community a beautiful playground.”

Beer agreed.

New swings are in place for younger children.

“That is why we added the toddler swings and a bench for parents to sit on while their kids play,” Beer said. “We want the students of Granum school and the community as a whole to have a space to play.”

The Granum school playground committee had lots of support from the community along the way.

Livingstone-Macleod MLA Roger Reid delivered  a $38,703 Community Facility Enhancement Program grant.

Volunteers raised another $13,000 by working a casino.

The MD of Willow Creek chipped in $8,000 and the Fort Macleod Lions Club contributed $3,000.

The committee received in-kind corporate donations such as landscaping and site preparation.

“We are very grateful for all the support received,” Brobbel said. “It is amazing to experience the generosity when it comes to our children. The two days of volunteer installation went really well due to the great number of very motivated volunteers.”

Installation of the playground equipment was scheduled for May but had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the committee got the all clear, a solid committee of volunteers that included school staff and Livingstone Range School Board trustees, pitched in.

“We look back on a successful project done in a timely fashion,” Brobbel said, noting the first meeting as a playground committee was in January 2019. “It wouldn’t have been possible with all the support received.”

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