As a parent-driven effort to upgrade the Elsmere Elementary School playground nears its fundraising goal, the drive to do the same at Glenmont Elementary is officially shifting into gear.
$128,100 was included for a new playground at Glenmont within a facilities upgrade bond approved by voters earlier this year. However, a percentage of those funds will be used for “soft costs,” leaving $93,000 for the equipment itself. The PTA has seen estimates that it will cost about $200,000 to replace the playground, so the group is still looking to raise about $100,000.
Amy Scharf, co-chairwoman of the Playground Committee for the Glenmont Elementary Parent Teacher Association, said because the district is now putting forth some of the money, costs raised slightly because the work must go out to bid. The original plan was to use volunteer labor to construct the playground after the equipment was purchased.
The Glenmont PTA is now taking many of its cues from the successful fundraising campaign for a new playground by Elsmere Elementary PTA members. In less than two years, the group is little more than $1,000 away from its goal, with the hope of an installation happening sometime this year.
Glenmont has now raised close to $28,000 through its efforts.
Scharf said now that Elsmere is almost done with its campaign, Glenmont will now begin its major fundraising efforts. The PTA knew it might be burdensome on the community if two similar fundraising drives were happening at the same time.
Future activities will include a Glenmont Elementary Fall Community Day and Family Fun Day in September. The PTA will also be holding a 5k walk and silent auction. Other community member have donated money outright, and some children have opened lemonade stands and donated the proceeds to the cause. The school also recently sponsored a dunk tank at the Glenmont Fireman’s Fair, with district faculty and staff taking the seat.
“We want the kids to be able to get exercise and have fun,” said Scharf. “Right now it is not a place to take kids and we felt the students wanted a new (playground).”
Scharf said the school’s playground is nearly 20 years old and several pieces of the structure are no longer functional. The playground is now outdated and school officials are looking to replace the playground out of safety concerns.
“It was a good playground,” said Scharf. “It served us well, but seen its day.”
At times, some pieces of equipment has been roped off with caution tape to keep children away, while some parts of the playground are missing large pieces of plastic. Scharf also said the bottom of some slides now touch the ground, as do some ropes and chains that are meant for children to climb and balance on.
“The district has been good about trying to keep up with the repairs, but there are just too many and there is a cost,” said Scharf.
There is also an issue with drainage, and some equipment is not up to code for children with disabilities.
“Glenmont’s goal is to accommodate all children,” said Scharf. “For instance, plans call for ‘cocoon swings’ for those with autism, swings for those in wheelchairs and play equipment to welcome every child.”
To learn more or donate, visit glenmontplayground.com.