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Northwest Calgary school in final push for new $500K playground

Parents at the Captain John Palliser school in the northwest community of Brentwood aren’t monkeying around in their pursuit of final funding for a new school playground.

After more than three years of planning and fundraising, they’re hoping to raise the final $25,000 of a $500K upgrade to equipment.

The current playground was set to be retired and the Captain John Palliser Parents Association (CJP PA) had to raise the cash during the pandemic. CJP is a K-6 public school of 500 kids.

“Applying for grants has been an uphill battle,” said Melisa Brown, member of the Playground Committee.

“Many grants have been cancelled, redirected or cut back due to COVID. We’ve heard that application volume is higher than ever with so many amazing projects competing for less money. It’s been a struggle and disheartening at times.”

They didn’t want a like-for-like replacement. They wanted to make sure the new playground was inclusive and had natural play areas.  Playgrounds aren’t funded by Alberta Education, the Calgary Board of Education, nor the school.

They were able to finance a good portion through contributions from the Allardyce Bower Foundation, the Government of Alberta and Parks Foundation Calgary. It was also sponsored by Montessori Alternative Public School Society, Pre-Kindergarten Educational Services, Mini Dig and BDI Play Designs.

The community also rolled up its sleeves.

“Our community supported us in a way that’s been extraordinary,” said CJP PA Fundraising Coordinator, Amy Gruman.

“Our students and families collected bottles, supported fundraising campaigns, made art to auction and raised money by reading in our Read-a-thon. This playground will truly be built by our whole community.”

Final stage of fundraising

The group has now set its sights on the final amount needed for the park’s completion.

To do it, they’ve launched an online silent auction. It runs until May 12.

There’s more than $13,000 worth of items on the silent auction site, with many from local artisans and area businesses. More than 60 different packages have been put together.

“Seeing the local businesses that have come together with such amazing auction items and hearing how excited they are about the project has been stunning,” said Brown.

If the fundraising goal is met, the project will be completed by September.

For more information, you can visit their site. To bid on the items, go here.