New playground for Queenstown school

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Pupils at a Queenstown primary school will receive a bonus Christmas present this year – a new playground.

St Joseph’s School’s $250,000 playground upgrade, which includes artificial turf playing fields, begins during the festive break.

Stage one – $110,000 of playground earthworks and asphalting – will be completed in time for the new term.

New pathways, landscaping, shaded seating and the Astro Turf fields will be completed as part of a second stage, once funds allow.

Headteacher Trisch Inder says the school is committed to its central Queenstown site and the upgrade would significantly improve the outdoor grounds, which could be troublesome in icy or wet weather.

“The top field where the Astro Turf is going is used a lot by the children and having an all-weather surface will make a big difference,” Inder says.

“The children have also asked for a long jump pit and some quiet shaded seating to sit and eat their lunch, so it’s good to incorporate these into our plans.

“The school’s been on this site for 130 years. Even with plans for a second campus in the district, it’s important that we continue to invest in this site. It still has capacity for many years ahead.”

Disabled access and new safety matting under the existing climbing frames will be included in subsequent stages and the Catholic school board aims to complete whole project within two years.

Each class was asked to develop a vision map for the school’s outdoor grounds and the school’s sustainability group represented the children assisting Baxter Design with the plans.

First Sovereign Trust awarded the project $28,932 towards the design and Astro Turf, Community Trust of Southland has committed $8434, while the school’s PTA (Parent Teacher Association) has raised $54,000, with included last year’s annual Book Fair profit of $24,000.

Once private donations are included, the school is just $10,000 short of its stage one target and will be seeking benefactors to support the project.