NORTH LIBERTY– The schoolyard is a more exciting place at Garner Elementary these days.
Volunteers at the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) school in North Liberty, which opened in the fall of 2010, recently installed a second playground on the west side of the building. The new structure, while suitable for children ages 5-12, will be used primarily by Garner’s third through sixth grade students. The building, with a capacity for 450 students, needed to expand its outdoor play areas, said Playground Committee Co-Chair Katie Voss.
“With the number of students we have, separate playgrounds for kindergarten through second grades and third through sixth grades makes scheduling recess much easier, plus we also have a preschool at Garner and wanted an appropriate structure for ages 3-5,” said Voss. Voss’ co-chairs were Mandy Moellering, Kelly Smith and Bobbi Halstead.
The Garner Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) helped raise the $40,000 needed for the new playground equipment, largely through private donations and school fundraisers. Local businesses who contributed to the supplies, labor, and food for volunteers included Concrete Central, Prime Ventures, River Products, LL Pelling, Hawkeye Redi-Mix, ICCSD, Tubrosa Pizza, Quizno’s and Iguana’s Mexican Grill.
The structure was installed during the weekend of Sept. 30 with help from the equipment company’s certified installation supervisors and about 40 parent and school volunteers. It is a less traditional structure than many playgrounds, Voss noted.
“We chose this structure because we thought the older children would enjoy it more than a traditional structure,” she said. “By design, it is not obvious how all aspects of the structure are to be used, and that allows for more creative play. The structure, called EVOS, has mainly climbing components, which we hope will be fun and challenging, as well as a good workout, for the older kids.”