School gets grant for playground project

BRISTOL – Bristol Elementary School will receive improvements to its playground as a $5,000 grant from Lowe’s will help pay for a fence around the playground. Other funds and donations will be used for an outdoor learning lab.

A playground kickoff assembly was held this week, prior to the end of the school year, where Lowe’s officials presented the $5,000 to the school.

Miranda Gerchak of the Bristol School PTO said second-grade teachers Marcie Forrest and Linda Pollock applied for and won the grant.

The teachers said they were concerned for the safety of the children in the playground, which is south of the parking lot, so the idea arose to have a fence placed around the play area.

Gerchak said the projects are designed to keep children safe and happy while playing and also learning outside.

Forrest said she and Pollock found the grant through Lowe’s improvement project and submitted an application.

She said in addition to the grant, the outdoor lab project will also use available funds from the Allen Shaffer Memorial Fund donated to the schools.

The PTO has put up the large playground.

Gerchak said plans are to have the project done before the start of the school year.

“This has really helped build our community spirit,” she said.

Local parent Steve Harper with Hammer Saw Builders will do the work installing the fencing.

In addition to the Lowe’s grant, Pollock said the school also received a $500 Division of Wildlife grant, which will pay for tables for students to work on when classes are held in the outdoor learning lab.

Principal Alleen Santee said the outdoor learning lab planned will provide a place for children to go outside for class lessons in all subject areas.

“It is exciting that the teachers and students will be outdoors learning. Where you learn is very important,” Santee said.

She said teachers will create special lessons designed for an outdoor learning environment.

Santee said the $5,000 Lowes’ grant will help make needed improvements to the playground.