The students at Conrad Elementary School could hardly wait for the speeches to be over at the grand opening of the new playground on Thursday afternoon. They were excited to play, play and play.
The school kicked off with a celebration of the new accessible playground equipment available on site.
The project saw the replacement of aging structures with fully accessible playground equipment and rubberized matting material, making this the first park on the community’s east side available to all children, including those with mobility limitations.
“I have two young children, Lizzie, 6, and Connor, 8. They both attend Conrad Elementary School. Not long ago I remember watching them climb and play on the very same playground that was installed while I attended Conrad in the mid-90s,” Melissa Boutilier, chair of the Conrad Parent Advisory Council (PAC), said at the grand opening.
“That is why this project was important to me. I wanted them to have a brand new playground of their own. Today I am happy to say that that is no longer a concern, and my children now have a newer and safer playground.”
The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) partnered in the Conrad Elementary School Accessible Park project through its Community Investment Fund, contributing over $116,000 to the endeavour. The investment facilitated the ability to significantly expand the scope of the playground concept after the B.C. Government’s initial commitment to equipment replacement.
The Province of B.C.’s Playground Equipment Program, School District #52, the Conrad Parent Advisory Council (PAC), Men of the Moose and Prince Rupert Grain also contributed financially to the initiative.
“The Prince Rupert Port Authority is proud to contribute to expanding the Conrad Elementary School Park into an inclusive, fully-accessible space for not only Conrad students, but all children residing in the community,” Shaun Stevenson, PRPA president and CEO, said.
“This improvement to the Conrad playground facilities will serve as a legacy to enhance the quality of life for residents, namely children and their families, regardless of physical limitations. Encouraging an active lifestyle at a young age is vital.”
North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice was also at the event.
“A new playground at Conrad Elementary means children and families throughout our community have a new, accessible and safe place to play,” Rice said. “This playground is the result of great partnerships between local organizations like the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s Community Investment Fund and our government’s Playground Equipment Program, which is helping build new playgrounds to benefit families in every BC school district.”
Now, a futuristic assortment of play pieces sit ready to be tackled by the town’s youth. Climbing, swinging, hanging and more are all part of the offerings.
Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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