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Nooksack Elementary jog-a-thon kicks off new playground project

A May 18 jog-a-thon at Nooksack Elementary School serves as the first major introduction for students, parents and the community of a larger effort to overhaul the playground at the school through the work of volunteer school committee.

“Some of the equipment is over 20 years old and passed down from the middle school,” says Nichole Parker, a parent and member of the committee. “It just needs to be redone.”

To get the project started, the committee and school will kick things off with the schoolwide jog-a-thon fundraiser, typically a popular event. Run by parents and volunteers, the donations focus on the school and the publicity throughout the community around the event helps get the word out about the new project.

“The kids seem to love the jog-a-thon,” Parker says. “It is something they really enjoy doing and the playground is close to home for a lot of them. It will give us a good leg up on a start for the playground.”

As the committee works through the final design plans—it will include a complete overhaul—the group has already started pulling in donations to help cut costs. Local construction firms have donated about $70,000 worth of demolition and debris disposal to get the site prepped for new equipment and Parker says they plan to have about 30 volunteers help construct the new equipment over the course of a few days when the time comes.

As the committee finalizes design plans, they will update financial needs. “Depending on how (fundraising) goes and how high we set our sights, we are looking for the summer of 2020,” Parker says. “That would be beautiful. I feel like that is a fairly lofty goal to have the playground to be done, but if we push hard hopefully we make it.”

The updated design will include plenty of linear play, more equipment that requires traveling and also interactive sensory equipment. The new playground will feature some larger pieces of equipment while creating a bigger area with more open space. It will also include a fenced-in space for preschool students. “It will be an upgrade and accessible for preschoolers through fifth grade,” Parker says. 

And it won’t be just for the school day, as the community-wide effort will help showcase the project to everyone. “The playground itself is going to be a community playground,” Parker says. “We really want to serve the kids in the area.”