Elementary students’ fund-raisers pay off with spiffy new playground | AspenTimes.com

Elementary students’ fund-raisers pay off with spiffy new playground

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Aspen Elementary School students have found the “fun” in fund-raising now that a new kindergarten playground they raised money for is ready.

Five years of money-making events, including holiday gift wrap and food sales, helped students raise nearly $60,000 for their pet project.

“They took the gift wrap money that they’ve raised over the last five years or so and purchased the equipment,” said Sandra Peirce, a mom of an elementary student and a member of the playground committee.

The playground located between Aspen Elementary and Aspen High schools looks ready for test subjects – in fact, the young charges of a local day camp spent Tuesday morning swinging from a new set of monkey bars. Still, playground supporters hope visitors tread carefully for the next week.

“We’d love everybody to come and take a look, but maybe take it easy on the sod for another couple of days,” Peirce said.

The old playground suffered from years of high traffic, parents note. Last winter, rain and snow resulted in several open puddles – not an ideal situation for parents and teachers of muddy students.

The equipment was never up to par, either, Peirce said. Crowded classes were left in line at recess, waiting for their turn on one of the coveted swings and slides.

“The high school construction was kind of hard on the grass, but it had never had a full-on play structure,” Peirce said.

Once Aspen High finished its construction project last year, Aspen Elementary supporters began designing their playground. Gift wrap sales helped students raise $23,000 for the park last year and, coupled with funds from previous sales, gave the school $56,000 to spend on equipment.

The new jungle gym was installed late last month.

“Everybody at the school’s just thrilled,” Peirce said.

Local volunteers had a hand in the park’s construction, too. Jeff Gerbaz of Stutsman-Gerbaz Earthmoving Contractors graded the playground and donated a few decorative boulders, while Mike Strang and Andy Taylor of Mountain Blue Turf Farms contributed the surrounding sod. Parent volunteers helped round out the construction crew, Peirce said.

“They helped us out so graciously,” she said.

[Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is jenniferd@aspentimes.com]

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