École Sir John A. Macdonald Public School, the new school under construction in Kingston East, will be the site of a $250,000 outdoor athletic and recreational facility that will benefit students and the greater community for years to come thanks to a generous grant from its community.
The Pittsburgh Community Benefit Fund unanimously approved $252,008 to the Kingston East Elementary School Outdoor Equipment Project at its regular Board meeting February 20, 2012.
This playground development is one of the largest single funding partnerships ever supported by the PCBF since it’s inception. Trustees of the Limestone District School Board (LDSB) unanimously approved the partnership at its regular Board meeting March 7.
“The Pittsburgh Community Benefit Fund (PCBF) is pleased to announce the formation of a funding partnership with the Limestone District School Board, to support the playground development of École Sir John A. Macdonald Public School,” says Jean Cooper, Chair of the Board. The PCBF has supported local school boards over the years, and including this project, will have committed almost one-million dollars in project support for elementary and secondary schools in the district, plus an additional $200,000 in scholarships. “It is rewarding to know that these legacy gifts will be enjoyed not only now, but in future generations,” adds Cooper.
“This tremendous gift from the Pittsburgh Community Benefit Fund will be its legacy,” states Steve Hedderson, Principal of Sir John A. Macdonald and currently École Lundy’s Lane Public School. “Playgrounds are places where friendships are born, where children learn the value of fair play, collaboration, cooperation and teamwork. It will help promote a healthy and active lifestyle, help combat childhood obesity and facilitate learning. This significant investment by the PCBF clearly shows that they too believe that schools are the hubs of healthy communities, and need to be supported.”
The Kingston East Elementary School Outdoor Equipment Committee, made up of parents from both J.E. Horton and École Lundy’s Lane Public Schools, along with representatives from the broader community, began working on this project over one year ago when the new school in Kingston East was announced.
The Ontario Ministry of Education has committed more than $14.5 million toward new school construction, but this funding does not include any funds for the construction of a school playground. Both school councils have already secured $17,500 toward equipment for the new school playground. This will be added to funds from the PCBF.
Principal Hedderson credits Dan Faux, the Outdoor Equipment Committee Chair and a parent of the J.E. Horton P.S. community, as an instrumental leader with this project. “The dedication of our parents, staff, and community has been profound,” says Hedderson. “They have truly come together to meet the common goal of providing for the needs of all students as well as the Pittsburgh community. This endeavour has served to unite these school communities and will provide the foundation for the development of a strong and vibrant school spirit for many years to come.”
The playground design will focus on active and inclusive play, includes accessible equipment to ensure that all students have access to an inclusive learning experience. Whenever possible, consideration has been made to integrate the school yard into the natural surrounding without affecting the safety of the children. In designing the outdoor space, special consideration has been given to ensure that a variety of outdoor recreation and leisure areas have been included. In addition to the installation of three large play structures designed for children aged three to 13, the outdoor space will include:
- a soccer field that could be used to support local youth soccer leagues as well as daily recreational activities for active children and adults in the community
- two basketball courts
- a gravel walkway around the perimeter of the property that would be suitable for running, walking or biking for children, adults, seniors and those with physical challenges
- a learning garden which will provide a comfortable place for children and adults alike to sit and enjoy the outdoors while partaking in leisure activities such as reading, etc.
- tether ball courts
- a beach volleyball court
The three play structures will be installed this summer so they are available in the fall of 2012. The remaining equipment and features will be installed as quickly as possible.
Helen Chadwick, Chair of the LDSB adds, “On behalf of our students, trustees wish to thank the Projects Committee, Board members, and the PCBF Membership for their amazing support. We applaud the PCBF for their insight and leadership, and thank all citizens of Kingston East for this significant partnership and impressive gift for our students today and in years to come.”
Past projects funded by the PCBF include the installation of playground equipment at St. Martha’s Catholic School, J.E. Horton Public School, and École Lundy’s Lane School; the outdoor lighting system at the Bert Breen fields at LaSalle Secondary School and the development of soccer fields at the John Machin site located behind StarTek.
Release source: Limestone District School Board