Community members and local companies were busy last week building the new PES playground

Community members and local companies were busy last week building the new PES playground

PES playground takes shape

Students at Ponoka Elementary School (PES) can’t wait to get their hands on the new playground that took shape over the weekend.

Students at Ponoka Elementary School (PES) can’t wait to get their hands on the new playground that took shape over the weekend.

Community members came together over the weekend starting Sept. 16 to build the playground from the ground up. Two years of dedicated fundraising by the playground committee, Layna Palechek and Jen Bartley, helped make it a reality.

Along with that were countless hours of support from not only residents but businesses as well. Almita Piling played a big part in the construction with the large sky walk supports while other companies like Galloway Construction Group and Gemini Corporation helped out.

Gemini employee, Jeannie Mortensen, was among several staffers who helped out on Sept. 16. The company paid employees to come help out. “They let us come over and paid us to do a community project,” she explained.

“It’s nice to be out in the community,” she added.

They were able to put together the different playground structures. Along with businesses was a large cohort of volunteers who wanted to see the playground become a reality.

Brian Leidenius is one of the parents who volunteered his time. His main goal was to ensure PES kids have a new and improved playground to enjoy.

“It looks pretty cool from the highway,” said Leidenius.

“It’s just a feel good story.”

The full list of companies and individual supporters is a long one, explained Palechek. She is grateful for the support over the years.

“I just can’t wait for the kids to play on it,” added Bartley.

As the work proceeded over the course of last week students kept a close eye on the work.

“Just to see their eyes and their excitement as they were walking by. For me that was what the two and a half years of work was all about,” said Palechek.

The surface of the playground is made up of engineered wood chips, which make an ideal cushion for kids.

There is one detail that needs sorting, the netting for the sky walk. The manufacturer originally sent the wrong protective netting, something that is needed to make it safe to use. The committee is working with the company, PlayWorks, who intends to put up temporary netting that meets safety standards until the missing one is located.

Palechek hopes kids will be able to use the playground by this weekend once the temporary netting is in place and a safety inspection is made.