Marion Elementary School principal Justin Wasmuth when Cooperative Grain and Supply representatives presented a $4,000 check last week to support efforts to upgrade the school’s playground.
“It’s great to have somebody like that who knows it’s important and helps us out,” Wasmuth said. “We don’t have as many resources as big cities do, so having the cooperative jump in and give us something like this is really, really big. It means a lot.”
Marion co-op manager Mike Thomas said the gift itself was a cooperative effort with CG&S’s primary financial partner, Denver-based CoBank, through its Sharing Success matching funds program.
Wasmuth said he appreciates the support businesses have provided to the district and the playground campaign.
“I’ve found in my six years here that if it’s going for kids they jump on that quick,” he said. “It’s been a great challenge, but it’s been a great result to be where we’re at.”
The project reached a milestone Nov. 11, Wasmuth said, when Superintendent Lee Leiker advanced money from the district’s capital improvement fund to purchase the equipment. However, fundraising will continue, he said.
“All that our Parent Advisory Council has donated and all the grants we’ve gotten will go back to the capital improvement fund,” he said. “As the year goes on we’ll put more and more back into that.”
Visual signs of change on the playground are still a few months away.
“I think all of us would like to say, ‘Next week, let’s get going,’ but I think early spring is realistic,” Wasmuth said.
Valerie Wasmuth, who has been coordinating fundraising, said volunteers will be part of the installation process.
“We chose to do a community installation, which saved about $13,000 to do it that way,” she said. “We need to provide at least 15 people to help with heavy lifting and all sorts of things when we install the playground.”
Anticipation is growing among students, she said.
“We’ve had a poster with the layout of the playground on it; they’ve all seen it and they all ‘ooh and ah’ and get excited about it,” she said.
Some pieces of equipment still have useful life left, and Justin Wasmuth said some people have expressed interest in using them for other playgrounds.