The Brook Park Council, the parent organization serving the LaGrange Park school, has reached its fundraising goal of $100,000, which will go toward the installation of a new playground on the south end of the newly expanded campus. And they're not quite done, yet.
Following their second very successful annual walkathon and painting party on May 3, the BPC is planning a golf outing in June.
"This project has been years in the making, and it will be very exciting when it all comes together," said Brook Park Council board member Ann Heinl. "It's been a community effort and that's the most exciting part of it."
The BPC unveiled renderings of the playground plans in March to the Brookfield-LaGrange Park School District 95 Board of Education and more recently to the students. Installation tentatively is scheduled for late June/July and will be ready when school opens on Sept. 3.
The roughly 140-by-40 foot playground site will be topped with a poured-in-place synthetic rubber surface and divided into separate play areas for kids ages 2-5 and 5-12.
The smaller structure for younger children will have two slides, stairs, canopy and bridge, while the larger structure for older kids will feature two double slides, a roller slide, fire pole, several climbing elements, including monkey bars and a zip line. In between the two structures will be a web-like rope-climbing structure.
On the periphery of the playground area there will be benches and areas for quiet play as well as a "drop-shot" hoop. If the fundraising continues to go well, said Heinl, there could be a "phase two" of the project, which could include things like purchasing soccer goals or a GaGa Ball pit and other play equipment.
"We need to get in the new space and figure it out," Heinl said.
Even before students left the building to participate in the May 3 walkathon, the fundraiser had reached $44,500. That's on top of the $59,000 the walkathon raised last year, in addition to the $8,000 raised by the golf outing last summer.
"The Brook Park Council has done a tremendous job of raising funds, but the work they've done to get community feedback is so much further than I'd have been able to do within the scope of this [building expansion] project," said District 95 Superintendent Mark Kuzniewski. "It's going to be a great space."
The total cost of the playground, which includes excavating the site to install a storm water drainage system, buying and installing the equipment and pouring the synthetic surface will come to around $250,000, Kuzniewski said.
Meanwhile, Kuzniewski said that the expansion and renovation projects at both Brook Park School and S.E. Gross Middle School in Brookfield are still on course to be substantially complete by mid-summer.
The target date for S.E. Gross is June 15; for Brook Park July 15. Much of the interior work being done now is finish work, he said. Furniture is slated to be delivered to S.E. Gross School on June 21.
While construction has been relatively problem-free, the district has been notified by its roofing contractor that there is an issue with some of the insulation sprayed beneath the roofs of new structures at both schools.
The insulation, which was sprayed into the area between the roof and joists was supposed to expand to fill the space. In some areas, the insulation did not fully expand, leaving gaps.
According to Kuzniewski, the roofing contractor has accepted responsibility for the flaw and the school district will not be on the hook for the cost of repair. Officials are trying to determine whether or not the roofs need to be reinstalled or can be fixed in sections.
"They're doing sampling to gauge the extent of the problem," Kuzniewski said. "This will not delay the opening of school."