Lifestyle

School gets playground makeover

Jim Parks, Brooke Schafer and Ann Jacobs of Forest City Enterprises paint a colorful mural of the United States in the school courtyard.  - Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times
Jim Parks, Brooke Schafer and Ann Jacobs of Forest City Enterprises paint a colorful mural of the United States in the school courtyard.
— image credit: Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times

Before its recent makeover, Crescent Harbor Elementary School’s playground was in bad shape.

The wood for the wall ball backboards was rotting away, the basketball hoops rusted and most of the playground equipment was purchased in the 1960s.

“The school has needed work for some time,” PTA member Scott Smith said.

School officials didn’t have the dollars to budget for a new playground area, so the PTA contacted outside help.

Wednesday morning, employees from the real-estate company Forest City Enterprises met at the elementary school for a one-day drive to makeover the campus.

Nationwide, Forest City shuts down once a year to tackle projects in their communities. In this region, the company works primarily on military housing.

“A lot of people at the school are part of military families and that’s who we serve. It makes sense that we’d help out here,” Ann Jacobs of the Forest City Poulsbo office said.

The company was looking for a “meaty project” and chose Crescent Harbor out of three other proposals.

The PTA contributed $20,000 for the new playground equipment and Forest City provided labor and money for construction materials. About 85 people from across the state showed up.

Their eight-hour workday included adding 4,000 square feet of new paint to the interior, freshening up the basketball hoops and wall ball courts and creating an outdoor learning area between the first and second grade wings in building A.

The volunteers also painted a colorful, 40 by 50 foot courtyard mural of the United States.

School employees allowed the kids to vote on the type of equipment they wanted for the playground in a class survey.

The students were held in the library, in the gym or they were taken on a field trip during the construction.

Smith said that Forest City truly propelled their plan to restore the school’s vintage playground. The fundraising efforts from the PTA and Principal Craig Dunham’s early involvement also contributed to the project’s success.

“It took us a year and a half to raise the money for this project and it would have taken another year without Forest City,” Smith said.

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