When childcare provider Michelle Regnier approached construction technology teacher Lucas King about building a new playground for Sunshine Country Preschool, she never expected it would grow so large.
“I had plans for him to just build one from scratch,” Regnier said. “He took the design and just ran with it.”
She said her original design included two tower decks and one bridge, but King and his class were able to build four towers and three bridges, one of which will be a tunnel.
“With all the posts supporting levels, it’s a lot like building a deck,” King said. “The finished product will be a solid freestanding play unit.”
Two of King’s students, Bret Voth and Nathan Cyr, went to Regnier’s preschool when they were children.
After dismantling the old playground onsite, King and his class also found that portions of it, such as the monkey bars and fireman’s pole, were in good enough shape to reincorporate into the new design.
“Lucas also donated his playground equipment from his own home,” Regnier said. “This is much more than I was expecting. It’s going to be huge.”
King said his children had outgrown the swing set and were not using it anymore.
“I was looking for a way to reuse the material and this just made sense,” King said. “He doesn’t know it yet but, we are also using discarded balusters from a project I worked on up at Bill Darrow’s house. Someone put a lot of work into these. They did it right and beveled every edge.”
The Lumberyard, Inc. owner, Jon Hefley, donated half of the materials for the project, King said.
Dwight Kruse also donated railroad ties that will go around the perimeter of the structure to hold in the safety sand and pebble gravel the class will distribute underneath it.
“They’re going to use the sand from my old sandbox to fill in first,” Regnier said. “Then they are going to cover it with rock, so all the cats in the neighborhood don’t use it as one big litter box.”
King estimated his crew was using about 20 percent repurposed materials and 80 percent new materials. He said they spent about $800 on materials for the project.
Regnier said funds for the project largely came from a fundraiser put on in November by parents of the children she cares for.
“Misty Brewer and Lori Wheeler, along with other parents, raised about $1,600 with a cross between an auction, a raffle, and a spaghetti dinner,” she said. “They called it Quarter Mania, and they’ve been waiting patiently ever since.”
Even though classes are out for summer at her preschool, Regnier said she plans to invite her students for a day to play on the equipment once it is finished.