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Ongoing vandalism prompts fundraising effort for new Douglasdale school playground

A Calgary Board of Education school is raising money for a new playground after being a target of vandalism over the years.

Douglasdale school is a K-4 elementary located in the SE quadrant of the city. Parents there have noticed the ongoing deterioration of the school’s playground.

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Morgan Caswell, chair of the parent council at Douglasdale school, said that in the past couple of years, there’s been fires started on the playground and nylon ropes cut on some of the equipment.

Just last weekend, vandals set the outdoor garbage cans on fire and smashed school windows.

As a result, multiple playground equipment has been removed or replaced due to damage. 

“So everything has kind of come to a point in the last year where parts of the playground that were broken, have been taken out. The parts that have been vandalized have been removed,” said Caswell.

“Now we just kind of have less of a playground.”

This playground spinning tree had to be removed from the playground due to cords being cut. Photo Courtesy Morgan Caswell.

Eventually, Caswell says the CBE will have no choice but to shut down the playground for safety reasons if nothing is done. So the school is trying to get ahead of the curve planning and raising funds. 

A new, accessible playground has a price tag of around $300,000.  

Douglasdale playground ‘obsolete’: Calgary Board of Education

The Calgary Board of Education (CBE)  said the Douglasdale School playground is “obsolete.” That means replacement parts are no longer available. A statement from Catherine Fradgely, director of facility operations, said every effort is made to give schools notice of equipment needing repair and availability of parts. 

“The CBE playground inspector tries to give two to three years notice when equipment is becoming worn or obsolete and advises schools that they should consider raising funds to have a new playground installed,” the statement reads.

Fradgely added that CBE staff support parent groups by guiding them through their playground project process including helping with application forms, discussing and providing guidance on playground specifications, providing assistance for grant applications and recommending preferred vendors. 

Replacement parts for the Douglasdale Playground are no longer available. LiveWire Calgary.

According to Caswell, a new playground is still around two to three years away. But she wants to create a safe and fun place for children to play in the future. 

“I just feel like it’s so important to get kids outside, to get them playing on playgrounds and being active,” she said.

“To have the playground be in good condition so that the kids want to play on them, that they’re fun, that they’re safe, and that they’re accessible for everybody that goes to that school would be perfect.”

Right now, Douglasdale school is hoping to raise some cash through a Big Box of Birthday Cards fundraiser. Anyone interested in donating money for a new playground can visit Park Foundation Calgary.