Much of the playground equipment used at John Allison Elementary was installed when the school was built.

John Allison Elementary gets $90k grant for new playground

Funds will be added to the $51k already raised by the school community

Princeton families had something to celebrate Tuesday following an announcement that John Allison Elementary School will receive $90,000 in provincial funds for its new playground.

Principal Bill Lawrence admitted he “jumped up and down and screamed,” when he got the official word Tuesday morning. “I love it. It’s fantastic. It shortens the process of getting the playground in by a number of years.”

The school has plans for a $165,000 outdoor play area, and has raised $51,000 in two years.

Lawrence said he is unsure when the playground will be constructed. “I’m hopeful that it will be, not this summer, but next summer.” Premier John Horgan announced a total of $5 million in funding for new playground equipment across the province, benefitting 51 schools.

“All students deserve quality, safe and accessible playgrounds at school, regardless of how much their parents can fundraise,” Premier John Horgan said during Tuesday afternoon’s announcement at Quadra Elementary School in Victoria.

“That’s why we’re lifting the burden off of parents by investing $5 million today, and every year moving forward, to build playgrounds where they are needed.”

John Allison is one of 26 schools that will receive $90,000 for standard equipment and 25 schools will receive $105,000 for a universally accessible playground.

“I’ve heard from parents that they need relief from fundraising tens of thousands of dollars for playground equipment — that’s a lot of bake sales and bottle drives for today’s busy parents,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education.

This fund is to help parents, and provide access to communities that don’t have the fundraising capacity to buy the play equipment students need, he added.

Much of the fundraising responsibility in the past has fallen to parent advisory councils, according to the province, and those schools without fundraising capabilities were often left without other options.

Playgrounds will be funded based on those with the greatest need, following an application school districts sent out earlier this year. Priority was given to those schools without a current playground, and then to those with aging facilities.

With files from by Ragnar Haagen and Kristyn Anthony

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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