College/Back to School
St. Bernard playground project a success
Dedication is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 12
By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor
The extreme heat of summer did not stop more than 80 volunteers
from St. Bernard School and Parish, Green Bay, from completing
its 10-month playground project last weekend. Volunteers
constructed a geodome, track ride, triple ring fling, circular
horizontal ladder, summit climber, corkscrew climber, swings,
slides and more. Two, 300-pound soccer goals were also added to
the school's grounds. The entire project cost nearly $45,000.
The decision to initiate a campaign to purchase a playground
structure was made in October 2000, said Nancy Fictum,
chairperson of the playground committee.
"We asked for volunteers in our parent letter," she said. "A
committee of 21 parent volunteers helped with marketing, public
relations and finances."
One of the first tasks was deciding what type of playground
equipment to buy. The committee consulted the experts.
"We had the fun part," said Diane Van Boxtel, who headed up the
design and architecture of the playground. "We took the kids to
different playgrounds in the area and let them play on the
different equipment. They came up with a wish list. We took kids
of all ages and let them choose the colors (blue, green and
purple). They also voted on the different slides."
The St. Bernard school students also played a role in financing
the project. Families donated items for a school auction in which
proceeds were used to purchase equipment.
"We sold 6,060 raffle tickets at 25 cents each," said Fictum. "We
also received a contribution from the Marshall Zak fund. Marshall
is a student who cut a hole in the top of a Cool Whip container.
Each time a family member visited him, he asked for a donation.
He raised $70.46."
Additional funds were raised through various sources. The
playground project was funded separately from St. Bernard's
capital campaign. The committee saved $12,000 to $15,000 by
constructing the structures themselves. Representatives from
Gerber Leisure Products of Madison, the vendor, assisted in the
construction. Wisconsin Public Service dug the 85 holes for the
structures at no cost.
Safety features of the St. Bernard's equipment include, for
example, double walls on the slides, and swings attached with
fully-enclosed bolt links. The design allows for future additions
to the structures. The equipment features a 100-year warranty.
The playground will be dedicated on Sunday, Aug. 12. The reward
of all the hard work will be seeing the children playing on the
equipment, said Fictum.
"These kids really sacrificed a lot last year with all the heavy
equipment that was around here for the building project, so they
deserve this," she said. "It really looks nice."
"I think all the people that volunteered with the installation
will have a real satisfaction," said Van Boxtel. "They will be
able to sit back and say 'I put that together.'"