The school year wraps up next month but it’ll be a busy summer around Alexander Park Elementary nonetheless, as construction begins on APES’ new playground.
The construction has been on hold since last fall so that it wouldn’t interfere with the school year. The $180,000 facility is scheduled to be ready when students return in September.
Chenoa Paccagnan, a three year member of the Parent Advisory Council, spearheaded the project through a variety of fundraisers, grant applications and business solicitations. In the end, $140,000 was raised, and the school district will cover the final $40,000.
When Paccagnan was working to get the funds together, she didn’t have much luck with businesses outside of Golden and was denied on several occasions when making grant applications for national campaigns.
“If you look at the list of sponsors it is primarily from Golden, which is huge…the response for this project was absolutely tremendous,” Paccagnan said. “This project would never have happened without the people in the community.”
The need for a new playground was considerable, as the old, 25+ year-old structure was at the very end of its life cycle and failing to meet most contemporary safety standards.
“The wood is so old the paint is gone and it’s splintered and chemically treated. The fireman’s pole doesn’t meet regulation, there’s all sorts of things,” said Paccagnan.
The biggest highlight of the new playground, and the reason for its steep price tag, is the accessibility it provides for all children.
“It has this rubber surface that allows children with restricted or limited mobility to access the toys. It also has a large number of ground level toys for children in wheelchairs or who can’t climb and it has a specifically dedicated wheelchair toy,” Paccagnan said. “(The playground) will benefit all of the children in Golden.”