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BCI Burke Playground

Man and woman standing on playground construction site

Play Moves the Marengo Valley School Community

For the past five years, parents and students at Marengo Valley School have worked toward a singular goal - raise money for a playground. But they didn't want just any playground - they wanted a space that would challenge and engage children of all ages and abilities and encourage them to be outdoors moving around and having fun. You know, playing!

Earlier this month they saw their hard work pay off when their BCI Burke playground equipment arrived in time for the community build. With the help of Lee Recreation, a Wisconsin-based BCI Burke commercial playground Representative, volunteers and school officials, the Marengo Valley Home and School Association constructed a new playground and outdoor classroom that will serve students for years to come.

“We think our kids deserve a nice playground to play on,” said Erica Lehto, the association’s president and the mother of six children who have gone to Marengo Valley. “It was something we wanted to raise the money for because we think it’s important that our kids could play outside on good, safe quality playground equipment.”

"Until the new equipment was installed, kids at the school didn’t have much to do during recess," Marengo Valley Principal Angela Parduhn said. "Now, students can stay healthy outdoors — and volunteers can take pride in what they accomplished together," she said.

“It’s been a community project, with parents and teachers and people from the school district working together to create this environment where kids can play and have fun and be active,” she said. “It’s pretty phenomenal. One of the things that really helps with our student achievement as well is the culture of the school.”

Parduhn said Zach Larson, a fourth-grade teacher, led the effort and went to the School District of Ashland where he determined that $29,000 was budgeted to reconstruct playground facilities that were removed to build the new kindergarten addition to the school.

Larson said the Marengo Valley community not only raised $20,000 to augment the district budget, they also helped to construct both the outdoor classroom and the playground — saving on construction costs and allowing the group to design a bigger playspace with more variety. And variety they have. From the ELEVATE® Fitness Course that brings out the ninja warrior in all of us to the multi-user Volito™ Swing that encourages cooperative play to an outdoor classroom with Novo® Playful Furniture, this space is designed to engage and enrich the lives of all children through play and education.

Shari Weis, a fifth-grade teacher, believes the facilities not only will keep the kids fit and entertained. They also will prepare students to learn better. Which makes all the hard work and time pay off.

Congratulations to this incredible school community. We’re moved by your dedication to your students!

Read more about the new playground in the original story!