The Roundup -

By Lois Kerr 

West Side Elementary School Playground Equipment Project Makes Top Ten

Sidney's Top 10 for 2011


West Side students enjoying the new equipment.

The Roundup has selected the West Side playground equipment project as one of the top ten significant events in the community for 2011. The school, partnered with the community and the Sidney Community Education Foundation, all worked together to make this project a reality.

The project began in 2009 with B&B Builders seeing a need, and then taking action to initiate a fundraising campaign to secure needed funds for the purchase of playground equipment for West Side Elementary School. “Over a year ago, B&B Builders put up the initial donation of $10,000 and issued a challenge to the community to raise over $200,000 for new playground equipment for West Side Elementary,” says Dan Farr, Sidney Schools superintendent, “B&B Builders did the grant writing and also approached the Sidney Community Education Foundation, who took over the fundraising activities for this project.”

Many individuals and organizations participated in this huge fundraising effort, which included donations, the sales of candy, and the making of a school cookbook. Farr appreciates each and every one of these individuals and organizations that helped make this project a success. However, he does single out a few outstanding people who went the extra mile for this project and galvanized the community into action. “Multiple people helped with this project, but I need to give some credit where credit is due,” Farr says. “B&B Builders, of course, got the ball rolling, and then Kim Hermanson at West Side really supercharged the staff and the students. The students at West Side really went all out. They turned into little sales people who were relentless in their chocolate sales.”

Fundraising efforts earned enough money to purchase the first portion of the playground equipment at the end of school year 2011. This fall, the school ordered the second portion of the equipment.

A quilt raffle just completed reduces the cost to $8,112.12 in order to pay off the equipment. The quilt was made and donated by a West Side staff member to help raise money for the playground. For three months the Westside students sold tickets for the quilt. The tickets were $2 or three for $5. Over a $1000 was raised for the quilt. Jen Difonzo picked the winning ticket. Isaac Deming was the winner of the quilt. Each time the kids sold a book of ten tickets they got a candy bar and got to put their name in a bucket for a drawing for one of the two iPods. Candace Everett and Katrina Meldahl picked the winners of the I pods. The winners were Hailey Selensky and Dani Larson.

The new equipment includes a variety of activities for children to enjoy. “We have everything from slides to climbing structures,” Farr says. “There are 69 different activities for students. This is a phenomenal piece of equipment, and it provides a real puzzle for kids’ imaginations.”

Farr truly appreciates this community effort and what the new activity center does for the school and what it says about the community. “This equipment really enhances the school, and it is reflective of our community,” he concludes. “When this community sees something that will benefit us, everyone is willing to pitch in and help. This is the cornerstone of our community, and this will get us through. If we can keep this foundation, we will weather whatever comes our way.”

B&B Builders will write the last check for this effort. “We wrote the first check to start this project going, and we will write the last one to complete it,” says Roger Byer, B&B Builders.


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