Kingsland seeking to update playground equipment

By : 
GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY
SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE

Kingsland parents are raising money to buy new playground equipment for the school’s courtyard playground -- a safe, enclosed outdoor play space where preschoolers, early childhood classes and lower elementary students can build strong muscles as they explore their pint-sized world.

“The funds are being put in what is called a ‘Fund 30,’ or a district-wide fundraising account that is under board control,” said Becky Bicknese, Kingsland Community Education coordinator. “There is a group of parents that feel passionate about having age-appropriate playground equipment in the courtyard.  Over the years, the primary use of the courtyard has been for early childhood programming, and they want to make sure that the children have an updated and quality place to play.”

The existing courtyard playground equipment is from the old elementary school. “It is outdated, and along with anything that is outside 365 days a year, it receives normal wear and tear,” said Bicknese.

Bicknese noted that currently, the district does not have a specific amount of money to raise, but the volunteers understand that the cost of buying new jungle gyms and swing-sets is rather expensive.  The district is still in the process of coming up with a design. There are many safety standards that need to be met when putting playground equipment in on school property, explained Bicknese, and making sure all these standards are met will determine what goes in. 

Commercial playground equipment can be very expensive, so it may take some time to collect enough funds as the process to determine what is needed takes place.

The parents held a fundraiser last April with a concession stand run during a martial arts tournament that brought in money to the fundraising account.  The parent’s group is working on multiple other fundraisers to do in the future, but there is an ongoing fundraiser involving Kwik Trip Milk Moola to raise money throughout the school year.

Milk caps and bag tops from the Nature’s Touch milk sold by Kwik Trip are worth 5 cents each. Kingsland is depositing the proceeds, nickel by nickel, check by check from Kwik Trip, into an account to purchase replacement playground equipment. Bicknese anticipates gathering enough Milk Moola caps and bag tops to help raise enough to install new equipment, and she hopes that the calcium-fueled fundraiser will allow anyone who would like to contribute an opportunity to do so. 

“I think this will be a great addition for the early childhood program and the youth in our community,” she said. “The Milk Moola program gives everyone an opportunity to contribute in some way to the program. Not everyone can afford to buy extra items from a fundraiser, but everyone can throw milk tops in a bag for no extra cost.  We look at this project not as a group doing it or a school doing it, but as our Kingsland community coming together to benefit our youth.”

For now, Milk Moola can be dropped off in any school office or at the local Spring Valley Kwik Trip.  All money received from the Milk Moola will be put in the districtwide fundraising account for courtyard equipment during the school year 2018-2019.

For more information, e-mail Bicknese at bicknese.becky@kingsland2137.org, or call the Kingsland school district at 507-346-7276.