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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Construction of Margaret Ma Murray School’s new playground is underway and is expected to open to the community in August.
Parent Advisory Council (PAC) President Christine Kraeleman says she shed a few tears seeing ground being broken on Monday.
“I put a lot of work in,” said Kraeleman.
Many organizations and community members have joined together to make the playground happen. All the work put into installing the playground has been donated along with the funding, says Kraeleman.
She says it started with the Fort St. John Rotary Club reaching out to help out.
“Then they went ahead and started applying to different grants from different companies all over town; we did get quite a few grants.”
In total, the Fort St. John Rotary Club raised $70,054.13, including funds from their mega lottery. Between 2019 and 2020, the rotary club applied to more than 40 different corporations for grants, raising $33,000.
In January, North River Midstream pledged to fund the remainder needed for the project.
“We are committed to supporting the communities that we live in work in. So this was a really important initiative to us, making sure that the kids had someplace to play,” said Lacey Beaumont with North River Midstream.
Generally, it takes schools quite a few years to come up with the funds for a new playground, but Kraelman got the phone call from the rotary club right after the school opened in 2018.
“It’ll take them five to ten years to even just to build or get one little piece of equipment. And we’re getting a huge playground that has rubber surfaces, everything. It’s gonna be a beautiful playground.”
Kraelman said she designed the playground with Green Roots Play Equipment and had the PAC vote on what they wanted as well. Finally, Kraelman had some students have a say by letting them choose between a few different designs.
“The school is extremely excited that this project has come together, thanking the PAC and North River Midstream for their dedication to finding the funds. Also, the Rotary Club. Without the whole collaborative effort, we wouldn’t be getting a playground for September, and we are thrilled,” said Principal Kathy Scheck.
The following companies have donated money and/or time towards the playground, according to Kraelman :
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