Project blooming at Big Bay
According to Superintendent Bill Pistulka, the school board recently approved using $125,000 from the district’s sinking fund to pay for the first phase. Construction of the playground is expected to begin this spring and be completed prior to school commencing in fall.
Planning for the playground is being handled by a committee of 12 members, including Mary Gollakner and Jill Denkins.
“After many years of planning for a new playground the staff, parents, and, most of all, students are all thrilled,” Denkins said. “Kindergarten teacher Angie LaLonde says the students are even excited to see the drawings that have been created … Recess Aide Wendy Damer thinks it is going to be a great place for not only the kids to play at recess but the community as well.”
According to Pistulka, the children have been involved in the planning process, reviewing playground equipment catalogs and browsing other new playgrounds on the Internet. Since Phase 1 is already covered by the sinking fund dollars, he noted that the committee, with the help of students and staff, is focusing on raising the extra $60,000 for Phase 2 of the project.
“The first donation to the playground project was actually an elementary student, Abby Abrams, who found a penny on the old playground and donated it for good luck,” he said. “The first penny will be part the new playground sign that will be for future donations.”
Students are now involved in fundraising and have participated in “classroom change” wars for a pizza party, as well as the placement of change containers throughout the community.
According to Gollakner, the pre- K to 12th grade students will be hosting a “Stepping’ It Up Walka Thon” on May 16. Students raise money through sponsor donations the walk and the students who raise $100 or more in pledges receive a special T-shirt the day of the walk.
“Through pledges we have earned $2,500,” she said. “Students who worked for the pledges will be wearing shirts with the name of the playground ‘Paw to Play’ on it. There is also a ‘Paws to Play 5K Run/Walk’ which will take place on June 29.”
Any donations for the playground project may be sent to the Big Bay de Noc School, payable to Big Bay de Noc Playground Foundation, and will go directly to the playground. Memorial or honorary donations are also being accepted. A contribution of $1,000 earns a gold sponsor designation, $500 is a silver sponsor and $250 is recognized as a bronze sponsor. These contributions will be documented and engraved on the playground next to the first penny.
Heritage Wind Farms was the first business to submit a donation, giving the foundation $2,000.