Over $300,000 has now been donated to Aspen View with the help of local volunteers and corporate citizens
ATHABASCA – More than a decade after forming for the sole purpose of funding and building a new playground at Landing Trail Middle School in Athabasca, the LTIS fundraising committee has now officially done both , with the tremendous help of Aspen View Public Schools, the many volunteers who fundraised and organized, and the corporate donations that brought them to their goal.
“The parent committee that presented to the board…presented a very comprehensive and exciting proposal for a new set of playground equipment for Landing Trail Middle School,” said Aspen View Supt. Brian LeMessurier at a board meeting in April 2014 when the school division approved a $322,470 loan to the committee for a new playground that would benefit the school and the community as a whole.
“It’s a very ambitious project, but a very achievable project,” reported the Athabasca Advocate in its April 8, 2014 edition.
It was proven on Friday, June 3, 2022, when students, staff, past and current committee members and representatives of some of the sponsors gathered at the school, on the playing field itself, for two final audit presentations that put the fundraising committee on top.
For perspective, the Grade 12 students who graduated from Edwin Parr Composite in late May would have been Grade 4 students when the fundraising to pay off the loan began and would have been at the start of school. primary school when the committee was formed in 2011.
Fittingly, last week’s presentation took place during morning recess, which featured clear blue skies, the sun shining bright and the newly blooming forest surrounding the playing field adding a brilliant splash of green to the long-awaited event.
Current committee chair Michelle Purdy-Hemmons shared the story of how the final funds were raised with the help of Canadian Natural Resources Limited.
“So our playground was about to get paid off,” she said. “COVID has given us a lot of challenges by delaying our casinos and that sort of thing. This is mainly where all the money came from to pay off this amazing playground.
Aspen View’s payout record shows tens of thousands of dollars were paid out each year since 2015, until May 2020, when COVID took hold in Alberta, and fundraising began to slow. In April 2021, TC Energy donated $10,000; that and a few Facebook auctions in 2021 and 2022 paid the bills, but the well was definitely dry.
Knowing of these challenges, DJ Williamson, a local CNRL employee, visited the company, explained the situation and soon after the goal was achieved with a donation of $20,000, which was recognized. last week. In addition, TC Energy contributed an additional $5,000 on top of its previous contribution of $10,000.
“CNRL fully supports local initiatives to improve our communities in which we do business,” Williamson said in a statement afterwards.
LTIS Director Joe MacIsaac told the hundreds in attendance that the playground is a big draw not just for the students who attend the school, but for the community around it.
“If they’re new to our community, one of the first things they notice when they drive up, they look at this tower and they’re like, ‘Oh my God, I’ll be spending most of my days here in the next few days. while?’ and they’re super excited about it,” he said of the playground’s crowning glory, a towering play structure that includes stairs, slides, ropes and a number of other toys for kids. relieve pressure during recess.
In addition to the durable and exciting new play structures, the playground project also included new basketball courts, new football goals and the redesign of the baseball field.
“You know you appreciate it every day and we have had students in the past who have appreciated it, and in the future of course they will, so we are delighted to be able to celebrate that we have actually paid off, all these structures here and this playground,” MacIsaac said.
Purdy-Hemmons said afterward that many people had worked hard over the years to achieve the goal set by the committee in 2014.
“On behalf of the fundraising committee, I want to thank everyone involved in building this playground and paying back to Aspen View. Thank you to our community for all the support with our Facebook auctions and to Jenn Oba for the organizing the auction for our committee. Thank you to the LTIS students who contributed their artwork for the auction. Many thanks to CNRL and TC Energy for their generous donations that paid the final balances due on the playground” , she said.
“We look forward to being able to use future proceeds from the casino and fundraising for new school items.”