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Students have a new play structure to look forward to every day at Newberg school

GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - A youngster takes advantage of the new playground equipment at Edwards Elementary School last week.

A fundraising effort months in the making finally came to fruition last week as the new play structure at Edwards Elementary School was unveiled Jan. 9.

The collection of sleek new play structure has activities for all abilities and was funded in large part by an effort from the Edwards Volunteer Organization – a group of mostly parents who help keep out wherever they can at the school.

After the playground's main play structure had been in decline for several years, the volunteers knew it was time to act.

"During the 2018-2019 school year, the district was forced to board up and dismantle portions of the main play structure due to structural issues that made the equipment unsafe," a release from the volunteer organization said.

Sarah Moore and Meghan Czarnecki – two parents and members of the organization – researched replacements for the play structure and began the fundraising effort. They found the entire playground needed replacement but started the first phase of the effort with the new, primary play structure.

With help from CPRD and other community organizations, the group raised $60,000 for the first phase of the project, which was guided by a vision statement: "Imagine a playground that is engaging, accessible to all abilities, and served as the heart of the Edwards school community and surrounding neighborhood. What would that look like?"

Now, students know exactly what that looks like. They can play on the new structure every recess and look forward to additional changes coming in the future to the area.

Phase II of the project will focus on the rest of the playground and additional efforts to make it accessible to children of all abilities. Volunteers say a large portion of the funding came from parents and community members who chipped in.

"Generous donations from Newberg Noon Rotary, Newberg Early Bird Rotary and Newberg Charitable Organization covered the rest of the cost of the new structure and the installation," the release said. "Newberg (School District) work crews dismantled the old structure and volunteer teams spread new bark dust after the installation was completed over Christmas break."

Students played an integral role in deciding what they wanted for the structure, the organization said, and teachers helped organize their opinions to craft a proposal.

The opening of the new portion of the playground happened with various contributing organizations in attendance – the culmination of plenty of work by them and volunteers over the past few months.


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