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Bompas hits target
Playground fundraising campaign a success

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, June 21, 2012

A contribution from the territorial government has ensured students at Bompas Elementary School in Fort Simpson will have two new playgrounds next year.

Two years ago the playground equipment in the school's green wing, used by students in grades 2 to 4, was removed because it was old and dangerous and there were concerns the wood was leaking toxins. Since then, a group of parents, staff and community members working under the name Friends of Bompas has been fundraising to purchase two new playground sets. One set is for the green wing and one is for the red wing where students in grades 4 to 6 currently only have an aging metal jungle gym and basketball nets, said Nancy Noseworthy, the school's principal.

Through catering, bake sales, loonie auctions and other events, Friends of Bompas raised approximately $30,000, half of the $60,000 quote the school received from Blue Imp, a playground equipment manufacturer. The school also received approximately $15,000 in corporate donations, including $5,000 from Diavik, $5,000 from Nogha Enterprises Ltd., $5,000 from the local district education authority and $3,400 from the Mackenzie Gas office through the sale of their furniture.

All of these funds close to doubled when the school received a call saying that the Department of Education, Culture and Employment would match their fundraising efforts to allow the school to reach the necessary $60,000. The department is giving the school $30,000.

"We're really, really lucky," said Noseworthy.

The Fort Simpson district education authority (DEA) was the only authority that applied to the department's School Playground Development Policy.

The department had $50,000 in its capital plan earmarked for playground upgrades in cases where DEAs could show half of the necessary funds were already raised.

Noseworthy said Nahendeh MLA Kevin Menicoche was instrumental in helping the school receive the funding.

"He was our go-to person to make sure that happened," she said.

Noseworthy said the playground equipment should arrive and be installed during the first half of the next school year. When the fundraising campaign started the students picked out they equipment they wanted.

The green wing's new playground will come complete with slides and a climbing wall, and the red wing will get a net climber. Both wings will receive new picnic tables and benches. The extra funds will be used for ground maintenance around the school, Noseworthy said.

The students have already been informed the playgrounds are coming.

"The kids were so excited," she said. "They've been waiting for this for a long time."

In the green wing, Shaznay Waugh said she's looking forward to having something to do during recess other than walk around. Waugh said she hopes the new playground will be better than the old one.

"I feel excited," she said.

Ravanna Hanna said she's also eager to see the new playground. Hanna said she used to use the old equipment a lot.

Noseworthy said the school can't say enough to thank the people who worked tirelessly to fundraise; they made getting the students what they need to be healthy and active a priority, she said.

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