A brand new playground with fun, new features is about to take shape on the grounds of C.E. Jacobson Elementary School in Rush City.
The school’s Parent-Teacher Organization has reached its fundraising goal in generating $34,800 with much help from the school, businesses, organizations and the Rush City community. The playground is scheduled to be installed Friday and Saturday, July 12-13, near the school’s east entrance.
“The PTO went above and beyond in contacting businesses (including those outside of the community) and finding loans and grants, too,” Jacobson Elementary Principal Melody Tenhoff said.
It was around 2011 that Tenhoff agreed with the PTO’s decision to take on the project due to the design and resulting safety concerns of the school’s older playground by the east entrance. The group got creative in ways to raise money and found success through Chip Shoppe, Club’s Choice, Art to Remember, Burger King and other unique fundraising activities, along with proceeds from the school carnival.
“We shot for three years (to come up with the funding), and it took us just short of two years,” PTO member Jennifer Henthorn noted. “I really enjoyed the process; just finding fundraising ideas was fun. People really rallied around it.”
As for the old playground, the PTO found a company that is willing to pay the organization to take some of the main components away for scrap. Gone will be the main structure, swings and bouncing rockers, but items including the monkey bars, snake climber, tire swing, atom structure and climbing wall will stay put as add-ons to the new playground.
New features will include a handicap-accessible swing chair; new swings; an additional tire swing; and something called Supernova, a circular platform resembling a large disc that spins by the use of feet and good balance. More features will promote upper body movement, and overall it will be more of a continual play structure, Henthorn and Tenhoff said.
The PTO also is investing in tables for adults to sit at and relax while their children are playing, Tenhoff added. The school board also approved a new rubber fill, as opposed to wood chips, with a timber frame that will keep the ground area stable and safe.
“It’s really a community park, one that people can use after school hours and during the summer,” Henthorn said.
The Jacobson Elementary PTO is looking for volunteers to help install the school’s new playground on Saturday, July 13, when the bulk of the playground will be put together. While the playground company is providing the needed equipment, it also is dispatching people to direct the volunteers every step of the way.
The installation is projected to be done in three-hour shifts, beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday. Food will be provided by the PTO. To sign up, contact the PTO at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The playground committee members are Henthorn, Cindy Schlangen, Lynette Buehring, Jeanne DiPaulo, Tenhoff, Laura Nelson, Mark Henrich, Melanie Hedberg and Jeanne Korf.
Contributing to the project were ECE Operation Round Up, Burger King, Herman Insurance, Horizon Milling, Kohl’s, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Rush City Economic Development Authority, Rush City Lions, Rush City Sno Bugs, Rush Printing, Shopko, Wal-Mart Foundation and Jacobson Elementary parents and friends.