The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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August 10, 2001 Issue
Special Section:
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.'"

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