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Quil Ceda Elementary finally gets its playground after 14 years
TULALIP — The students of Quil Ceda Elementary got a new playground Jan. 9, but Washington weather being what it was, it was a few days before they could test it out for themselves.
Still, Quil Ceda Elementary Principal Dave McKellar appreciated that the school was finally able to install a playground that had been identified as a student need since the school first opened in 1997.
“We’ve been collecting for playground equipment for the past 14 years,” McKellar said. “We found a structure that would have cost much more than we could afford, but the company offered it to us at a reduced price.”
That reduced price still amounted to roughly $30,000, and the Quil Ceda Elementary PTSA funds that had been accumulated over the years only added up to $15,000, so with Fred Meyer supplying a grant for $7,000, the Marysville Cooperative Education Program made up the difference with $8,000.
“We really didn’t have many play options for our intermediate grades, which are still developing socially,” McKellar said. “Kids can play soccer out on the fields, but without adults to referee and manage them, disagreements can turn into fights. The biggest benefit of this playground is that helps concentrate more kids into groups where they can be more easily supervised. We have up to 200 kids out on the fields during recess, and this playground can accommodate up to 60 of them at once.”
On the day of the playground’s installation Jan. 9, more than 30 adult volunteers from the school district and the surrounding community arrived at 7:30 a.m. and didn’t leave until after 6 p.m. McKellar estimated that at least half the day was spent laying down 80 yards of wood chips onto the 2,100-square-foot playground site, before the 60-foot by 60-foot structure was erected.
“Another group came back the next day to finish raking the bark,” McKellar said. “We benefitted from other groups of volunteers already having spent several hours during the previous weeks on site preparation, from digging holes for cement to clearing the ground.”
The playground boasts a tower, a large slide, a spider web-style net for climbing, another net connecting the tower to another part of the structure for walking or crawling across, and several other climbing access points.
“It’s amazing how much we can come together for the sake of our kids,” McKellar said. “It’s hard to recognize all those who have contributed to this, because so many of them moved on before they got to see it come to fruition, so I’ll say thank you to anyone who’s been part of our school. Building this in one day felt like watching one of those home makeover shows, and it was a great opportunity for the adult volunteers to bond and get to know each other.”