R.C. Garnett parents get ’er done

About 15 fathers spent last Friday and Saturday installing a new playground at R.C. Garnett Elementary.   - submitted
About 15 fathers spent last Friday and Saturday installing a new playground at R.C. Garnett Elementary.
— image credit: submitted

Parents at R.C. Garnett Elementary decided to do it themselves and build a playground on Saturday morning.

Not only did parents of this tight-knit school do all the fundraising to make this second playground possible, they also did the manual labour to make it happen.

“It would have cost us over $4,000 to have it installed,” said PAC co-chair Lorraine Baldwin. “So we did it ourselves. That’s R.C. Garnett for you.”

On Friday, about 15 fathers started shoveling the woodchips and drilling holes for the monkey bars to be installed.

On Saturday morning, around 7:30 a.m., the same group came around ready to do the heavy labour while many moms ran coffee and helped out, said Baldwin.

“We even had an uncle of a student come and help. The playground will be ready to play on by Wednesday (yesterday),” she said.

R.C. Garnett has been faced with much adversity for some time now, first with being the most overcrowded elementary school in Langley, with nine portables and more on the way.

This overcrowding has forced the school to alternate recess times for the students because there are too many kids and not enough equipment for them to play on.

Then the school district made R.C. Garnett the first elementary in Willoughby to reconfigure into a K-5, with Grade 6-7s being bussed to the new school Lynn Fripps next September.

Despite all that, and other schools like Willoughby getting funds for a playground, parents at R.C. Garnett still have a huge heart for their school, raising $8,400 through raffles and other fundraisers for the playground.

“Then we realized how little $8,000 will buy you,” Baldwin said.

A parent went to the Township and asked for a grant and received $5,000 through the Neighbourhood Initiative Program.

Magnum Concrete donated the concrete and Gordy’s Firewood donated the plywood.

The playground idea got underway from one boy going to the principal asking for monkey bars last year, said Baldwin.

Now the new playground has two sets of monkey bars and a ladder wall. The school is hosting a ribbon cutting on Friday, June 15 at 2:10 p.m.

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