A small group of dedicated parents are working tirelessly to try to raise funds for a new playground at Ecole Routhier in Falher, AB.

Routhier Facility Enhancement Society (RFES) vice president Lindy Brulotte says the current playground equipment at the school is in poor shape and needs replacement in the very near future.

“The playground equipment is getting to a place where it’s dire that we replace it,” says Brulotte.

“At this point it is definitely a need, not just a want. There are many repairs that need to be done, but because the equipment is so old, a lot of the replacement parts are no longer available.”

The group has found a company to purchase new equipment from, with the total replacement cost coming in at just about $276,000.

The group recently applied for the Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) in the amount of $125,000, a grant that they should hear if they were successful in application in upcoming months.

“We have just over $100,000 saved up, and High Prairie School Division will be giving $20,000 towards the project,” says Brulotte.

“We also received an in-kind donation for $3,000,” she adds.

Replacement equipment will be made of metal and plastic, instead of wood like the current set.

Brulotte says the current playground is in such poor condition, teachers and parents are concerned it could become a hazard to children using it.

“We’re at the point that it may have to be torn down within the year,” she says.

“It benefits all the children in the community and region, not just the children who attend Routhier. We hope people see the importance of its replacement and consider helping to fund the playground.”

RFES is a group that is currently comprised of three parents, a group that is looking to grow if interested parents want to participate in its endeavours. They were created in 1996 to fundraise for items and programs that the school was unable to obtain through traditional educational financial sources.

Volunteers devote their time and efforts to organizing fundraising activities and events for the students.

“We also bring in the Missoula Children’s Play every four years,” explains Brulotte, saying their mission is to help the school in any way they can.

“Now we’re looking into purchasing this inclusive park that will be wheelchair accessible and be accommodating to special needs children, too.”

Brulotte explains the structure has been chosen because it has ramps instead of stairs and other features that will allow more children access to it.

If you would like to donate to the playground project, or have interest in helping the parent committee, please phone Lindy at (780) 837-4012 or Cheryl at (780) 625-1445.

By Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 13, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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