Playground project completed at Sun Valley School

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It has been a decade or more in the making, but Sun Valley School is now home to a large new outdoor playground and learning area.

The project is the second phase of the Sun Valley Parent Advisory Council’s playground improvement project.

“We tackled the play structure area first, improved and added on to it, and we made a significant investment into drainage,” said project manager Maura Champagne, whose six children all attended the school. “Sun Valley was always a swamp.”

On June 10, Sun Valley School officially opened its new playground.

At that time, a master plan for the grounds, which are mostly owned by the City of Winnipeg, was drawn up.

“We needed to tailor the plan so we could find grants to work with the plan,” Champagne said. “Sun Valley PAC raised probably about $40,000. That is a lot of nickels. So many nickels. That group is so incredible. They worked so hard. Any dollar that came in, they allocated to the playground project.”

In April 2021, project received $70,000 from North Kildonan’s land dedication reserve, in addition to $37,000 in LDR funds for the playground that was provided in 2017.

“Manitoba summers are short,” Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) said. “Being able to have even a limited amount of classroom instruction outside is truly special. The parents, students, and staff at Sun Valley have done a great job fundraising and, over a number of years, enhacing the school yard to compliment student’s educational experiences.”

Along with the changes to the grounds and new play equipment, 15 new trees were planted. Champagne credited both Browaty and city staff at the planning, property and development department for believing in the project.

“The people we worked with were unbelievable rock stars,” she said. “I told them what we wanted to, and we got their buy in.”

The project also received nearly $20,000 from the provincial government’s Community Places program, and an additional $10,000 from Manitoba Tire Stewardship.

“This is not just a school project,” Champagne said. “It’s a massive community initiative.”

The outdoor learning portion of the project had been identified as a key feature before the COVID-19 pandemic, which only reinforced the importance of such spaces, Champagne said.

“Honestly, the difference, even with the first phase, in the number of kids who are on that play area on the weekends, it’s tangible,” she noted.

Sheldon Birnie

Sheldon Birnie
Community Journalist

Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at sheldon.birnie@canstarnews.com Call him at 204-697-7112

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