Anticipation is growing among students and staff at Plum Coulee School as a years-long effort to replace the playground finally starts to take shape. 
On Wednesday, May 3rd, volunteers will gather to erect the first phase of the new structure, worth $65,000.

"The kids are interested and eager," said Principal Mary Eberling Penner. "I'm sure once the big backhoe comes next week to level the land and the trailers come and start removing, and they start seeing things happening instead of just a snowbank [...], then the buzz starts to happen."

Next Saturday's work is due, in large part, to the dedicated fundraising efforts spearheaded by the school's Parent Advisory Council over the years. 

"Not just these volunteers this year, but over the last few years we've had a number of very dedicated parents who've come on to the PAC and help fundraise," explained Eberling Penner. 

Because the structure will include elements for students who have occupational therapy recommendations, a group of teachers worked with Eberling Penner to fill out a lengthy, yet successful, application to the province's Teacher's Idea Fund in the hopes of snagging some extra cash. 

"Without those extra people, this wouldn't happen," she said.

Work to dismantle the old structure will begin next week. It's actually one of the oldest pieces on the playground, noted Eberling Penner.

"It actually was dismantled and brought from another school to Plum Coulee School many years ago, probably like twenty-five/twenty-seven years ago, so it's very dated. Pieces of it have already been decommissioned and removed because they could no longer be repaired or didn't seem safe, so it's been shrinking over the last few years. It's had its time."

Not ones to let the momentum slow, Eberling Penner says the push is on to fundraise for phase two of the project.

- With files from Ronny Guenther -

school playground cover in snow