Albany Elementary School kicked off their playground project with a fun fundraiser at their open house, Aug. 28. As parents and children roamed the halls of the school, elementary teachers each had a bucket displayed in the lobby.

“Parents and students were encouraged to put cash in the bucket of the teacher they most wanted to get pie in his or her face at the back-to-school assembly Sept. 3,” said Ann Schultz, Albany Elementary School principal.

Five teachers – Becky Boyer (kindergarten), Pam DeGeest (third grade), Nikki Myogeto (fourth grade), Kristi Spohn (third grade), and Laura Roelike (second grade) – were the ones with the most money in their buckets. All five received a face full of pie by a co-worker while the student body giggled light-heartedly. It was a fun way to begin the school year.

The pie fundraiser was the first of the many fundraisers the school plans to do throughout the year, with the goal of installing new playground equipment next summer.

“The idea for a

new playground came from our Parent-Teacher Organization,” Schultz said. “Most of our current equipment is over 20 years old and in need of repair or replacement.”

The majority of Albany’s playground equipment will be replaced.

“We plan to keep the swings and add more with the new plan,” Schultz said. “With the continued growth in Albany, we need more equipment to meet the needs of our students; we’ve outgrown our current playground.”

A group of parents and students came together last fall to start the planning phase, Schultz said. Many options were reviewed, and a plan was finalized. The total cost of the equipment, including installation, is $301,000. The school board approved using $50,000 of left-over money from the building project to go towards the new playground. It is anticipated the fundraisers, along with grants, and contributions from organizations and businesses will cover the remaining costs.

“We will be doing a silent auction during conferences in October,” Schultz said. “Each classroom will create themed gift baskets parents and family can bid on. We have plans to do penny wars between classrooms, possibly doing a free throw contest at half-time during a basketball game, and selling Huskie products.”

The new playground will not only be an asset to the school, but to the community as well.

“It is heavily used by our community and those visiting our schools for extracurricular activities,” said Schutlz. “Children can be found playing on the playground in the evening, on weekends and all summer long. For this reason, we’ve decided to name the playground the Albany Elementary Community Playground.”

Information about the project and donation forms can be found online at www.aleplayground.weebly.com.