Students at Grassy Plains School can expect a new playground with accessibility features for children with disabilities following the announcement of $105,000 in funding from the provincial government.
It’s part of a program that’s meant to take fundraising pressure off of parents through $5 million in annual spending.
Natasha Toth, the principal of Grassy Plains School, welcomed the news, saying that kids at the Southside school will love having a new set-up to replace their aging equipment.
“Grassy doesn’t have a lot of funds,” said Toth. “We’re glad to get any kind of grants.”
Although there aren’t currently any children requiring accessible playground equipment, she welcomed the news that the new playground would be suited to children with disabilities.
“It’s good to know that we’ll have something that can accommodate everybody,” she said.
She added that since the school had just learned about the grant, it was too early to go into details about plans.
The school district said the announced funding would help address a lack of funding at the local level.
“We’re pleased that the Ministry of Education is recognizing the challenge of local fundraising efforts to replacing aging playgrounds,” said school district facilities manager Tim Bancroft in an email.
He added that specific plans hadn’t been confirmed, but that accessible playgrounds feature a paved or solid surface so that wheelchairs can approach the edge of the play area.
The playground will likely include equipment designed to hold and secure children with physical challenges, he said.
Grassy Plains is among 25 schools receiving $105,000 for accessible equipment, while 26 schools are receiving $90,000 for standard play.
The provincial government said in a statement that up to $5 million would be available annually for investments in playgrounds.
The money is meant to relieve parent advisory councils that often attempt to pay for new equipment through bake sales, bottle drives and other fundraising efforts, according to Minister of Education Rob Fleming.
“We’re delivering this fund to help parents, and provide access to communities that don’t have the fundraising capacity to buy the play equipment students need,” Fleming said in a statement.