Above: Morinville Public Elementary School Parents Fundraising Association member Leah Elzinga stands in the school’s existing playground after informing students at an assembly they had secured the funding to redo the playground to meet school and community needs.
by Morinville News Staff
Students gathered in the Morinville Public School gym Friday afternoon expected to see their fellow students demonstrate their skills during the MPS Talent Show. What they perhaps didn’t expect is for a parent to take the stage and share some great news — the school’s goal of a new playground was going to be a reality.
Morinville Public Elementary School Parents Fundraising Association (PFA) President Leah Elzinga received cheers and applause when she announced the PFA was successful in its bid for $75,000 in provincial grant funding.
“Have you seen the really cool pictures of the huge castle with the dragon slide and the monkey bars that we’re working so hard for?” Elzinga asked students. “Today we got $75,000, which means we now have $165,000 that this school raised. This summer we are building your playground.”
The school’s current funding will allow the PFA to construct Phase One of what will be a three-phase project. The initial work will address a shortage of equipment in the playground, equipment the PFA believe will serve both the rapidly growing school and surrounding community.
Elzinga said she was pleased to get news from Maureen Kubinec, Minister of Culture and Tourism that the MPFA’s application for the Community Facilities Enhancement Program grant had been successful.
“Maureen Kubinec actually called me today and let me know. [It] was a huge surprise because I spoke with her office yesterday, and they told me it would be four weeks before they made a decision,” Elzinga said. “I’m absolutely thrilled. Usually, playgrounds of this size take a minimum of five years to raise that kind of money. We’ve done it in about two-and-a-half [years]. We’re very happy.”
Elzinga is not alone in being thrilled the plans for a playground will proceed. Principal Wayne Rufiange, who was the first to be told the good news, is also pleased things are proceeding.
“We’re really excited with our expansion and the number of kids that we have. I think having more space and more equipment out there allows more kids to be active outside during their recess time,” he said.
Now that the funding is in hand, the PFA is planning to break ground this summer, likely in August. But more help is needed.
“We’re hoping to get a couple more donations in terms of sand and concrete — those sorts of things,” Elzinga said.
When the school began raising money for their playground, student population was approximately 385 students. The population is 585 students today. The increase in student population may require some revisions to plans.“We planned a playground based on 300 kids. Now we have 600. So there might be some changes. The big thing is filling in for the equipment that is missing, and just creating space for kids is [our] number one priority.”
Phase 2 will add more equipment. Phase 3 will add landscaping and other amenities, including benches.
Blow is a video clip of the announcement