RIDGWAY – Help the Ridgway Elementary School raise money to create a unique new playground by attending a family-friendly fundraising event this Thursday, Dec. 19.
Adults are invited to participate in a “fun, wild and crazy evening” of turkey bingo at the Sherbino Theater from 5-9 p.m. while their kids attend a pajama party at the Ridgway Elementary School.
The adult event features a cash bar, silent auction with holiday gift items donated by local businesses, and frozen turkeys as winning bingo prizes. Five bingo cards cost $20.
The pajama party features pizza, bingo, games and a movie, and costs $10 per child and $3 for each additional sibling. The event is open to preschoolers who attend Ridgway Elementary School and all elementary aged children. RES Principal Trish Greenwood will be in charge, assisted by teachers Jenny Burdick, Joy Dorsey and Julie Furstenfeld along with some older student helpers.
A 12-member Playground Task Force comprised of students, Ridgway School District staff, parents and community members, is overseeing fundraising, design and construction of the new playground.
Specific goals include creating a defined preschool playground space; implementing a climbing structure; improving learning opportunities on the blacktop; improving the playing/soccer field for year-round use; building an outdoor classroom space with shade cover; integrating outdoor garden space; and making all of it accessible to kids with disabilities.
To pay for all this, the Ridgway Elementary School has teamed up with the Town of Ridgway to apply for a $100,000 grant in early 2014 through Great Outdoors Colorado’s new School Play Yard initiative, which was recently launched to support and improve existing school play yards across the state.
The grant application requires the local community to come up with a 10 percent cash match by Jan. 7, 2014. The Ridgway School District has committed $5,000 toward this match. The Playground Task Force is working to raise the remaining $5,000, through an online fundraising drive and Thursday’s events.
The Playground Task Force has been working collaboratively with two graduate students from the Colorado Center for Community Development at CU-Denver to come up with design concepts for the new playground.
On Monday morning, Dec. 16, grad students Lisa Hanano and Connor Krause, along with their faculty advisor Vickie Berkley presented three different design proposals to Ridgway Elementary School students to get their feedback. Parents and community members were then invited to view and discuss the proposals at a Playground Task Force meeting that night.
“We essentially liked parts of all three designs,” said Task Force member Danika Gilbert, who is writing the GOCO grant. The students will now take the feedback from Monday’s meetings and bring it all together in one final design, incorporating shade, natural play and outdoor learning space elements.
Among the design elements that are sure to make the final cut are a giant slide down the hillside at the rear of the playground, and a zipline of some kind.
The Playground Task Force is also collaborating with the family of Zina Lahr to include some play equipment on the new playground that is a tribute to her whimsical sense of style and design – perhaps a dragon-themed climbing structure. Lahr, a beloved young artist and inventor who grew up in Ouray, died in an apparent hiking accident in November.
Final design ideas for the new playground should ready to present to the community by Dec. 23.
For more information about the upcoming fundraiser, the playground project or how to get involved, visit ridgway.k12.co.us/Community/RES-Playground-Remodel-GOCO/.
Tax-deductible donations can be made online by visiting the Ridgway School District website and clicking on the Paypal button, or follow this link: http://www.ridgway.k12.co.us/RES-Playground-Remodel-GOCO/donations.html.
Or send a check payable to: Ridgway Elementary School Attn: Playground Renovation 1115 W. Clinton St. Ridgway, CO 81432.
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