Monkeying around at RSS

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
September 13th, 2012

After a solid volunteer effort—from planning and design, to fundraising and construction—the RSS playground is finished and bringing joy to the young and young-at-heart.

The process began back in October 2011 when the playground subcommittee was put together with representatives from the PACs (Parent Advisory Councils) of all three Rossland Schools—RSS, MacLean, and École des Septs-Sommets. Neighbourhoods of Learning coordinator Jennifer Ellis ably led the charge.


The subcommittee assembled a wide variety of potential structure designs, everything from boulders to spaceships, and then went to Maclean and RSS to ask the Grade 4s through 7s what they thought.


“The Henderson structure won by a landslide,” Ellis said. “Apparently they really like monkey bars and having a number of different places to play on a structure.”


The coup-de-grace was a coordinated installation effort with both professional contractors for the actual structure and the recycled rubber surface, and an army of some 25 volunteers who converged on the site for weekend work on Aug. 25.


Shelley Ackerman has created an impressive Facebook album with some 150 photos of the construction.


The rubber was just being poured when Coun. Jill Spearn—a teacher at MacLean—remarked at the Sept. 4 council meeting that she hadn’t been able to join the construction, but “It’s an awesome project!”


Coun. Kathy Wallace had joined the work crew along with her whole family. She reported, “Originally volunteers were supposed to dig 45 holes by hand,” she said, noting that these were holes in a heavily compacted surface.


“When my husband found out the plan, I had to leave the house!” She laughed. The plan changed at the last minute, however, and the city came to the rescue with their vactor truck.


Volunteer David Klein called the assistance “huge.” He added that digging the holes by hand “would have sucked.”


“Wayne [from the city] volunteered his time on Saturday with the front end loader—Wayne rocks!” Klein said.


The volunteers then poured concrete in the holes. The playground couldn’t be finished that weekend as planned, however, because one piece in the structure was incorrect, but the playground company returned the following week with the correct piece and completed the installation. 


Soon afterwards the rubber was poured, cured, and the fence came down and now children are having a great time on the monkey bars.


The total price tag was under $100,000, towards which the main contributors were a Ministry of Education grant of $50,000, a Tire Stewardship grant of about $19,000 to install the recycled rubber surface, and SD20 added $10,000. The City of Rossland gave about $5000 in-kind for surface preparation, plus an additional amount for the “rescue” operation on Aug. 25.


Funding from the Nelson and District Credit Union, Teck Trail Operations, the RSS Parent Advisory Council, and the MacLean Parent Advisory Council also made the project possible.

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