Vandalism has left a North End elementary school without a popular playground structure.
Last month, vandals caused significant damage to a two-piece play structure located at King Edward Elementary School at 825 Selkirk Ave.
The incident left school officials with no choice but to remove the item.
School principal Spencer Clements said students were disappointed that the equipment — which featured two structures joined by a swinging bridge — had to be removed but are making do without it.
"Kids are adaptable. We’ve got more gloves and balls out there and team games being played outside, as well as a few basketball hoops," he said last week.
The school is now in the midst of fundraising about $100,000 to upgrade the playground.
Gary Burling, a community support worker at King Edward, said the school originally planned to undertake $10,000 worth of improvements. Those plans have since been expanded, in part because of the damage to the bridge structure, he said.
"It is now a much bigger project. We are looking at about $80,000 for the playground and then additional landscaping," he said.
Fundraising for the project is already underway. To date, the community has raised more than $2,000 for the upgrades.
Clements said most playground improvements are the responsibility of individual schools rather than local school boards.
This has prompted many King Edward parents to call for regular playground budgeting, assessment and a replacement plan at the school board level, he said.
Burling consulting with parents in the area has been an important of planning for the new playground.
"They had some concerns as well, so there will be things like better lighting to help prevent what happened to the former playground," he said.
Clements said the bridge was a popular attraction for the more than 200 youngsters who attend King Edward as well as other children in the neighbourhood.
"Many kids in the community used it as well," he said. "It was also utilized by many youth and children’s programs in the area."
Clements said members of the student body are chipping in to support the playground project.
Grade 1 student Serenity Isfeld decided instead of requesting birthday gifts this year, she’d ask for donations to be put towards a new structure.
Fellow Grade 1 student Leo Blyth said the bouncing bridge was a favourite of King Edward students.
"I loved that bouncy bridge," he said.
Donations for the proposed new play structure are still being accepted. Cheques can be made payable to Children’s Heritage Fund and can indicate that it is for King Edward School’s play structure. They can be mailed to: Winnipeg School Division, 1577 Wall St. E., Winnipeg MB R3E 2S5.
Cheques can also be dropped off at the school at 825 Selkirk Ave. during regular school hours. Tax receipts will be issued for all donations of more than $10.