Juneau Tri-Rotary Club Effort Completes Playground Equipment Installation

When school opened in mid-August, students at Riverbend Elementary School in Juneau enjoyed new playground equipment, thanks to an effort coordinated by the three Juneau Rotary clubs.

The 2015-16 Presidents of the three clubs began meeting with elementary school staff and PTO members last spring to plan the effort.  The group was concerned about a small playground at the school that didn't meet the needs of the 300 PK-5th grade students.  This resulted in high discipline referrals.  In addition, the Riverbend area has increasingly become a community hub, due to the opening nearby of a new high school, a new swimming pool and a new library all within the past eight years, and the proximity of athletic fields and low-income housing.  A playground update would help meet the needs of Juneau's 2,000 PK-5th grade students who visit the area.

The playground planning group put together a District 5010 grant with funding from Juneau School District, the PTO, local business and individuals.  Cash for the project totaled over $43,000, and with in-kind contributions the project is valued at nearly $60,000.

Juneau Rotary clubs are fortunate to have architects and experienced construction managers among our members who could assist with site prep.  During the installation week of August 10, 40+ Rotarians opened crates, hauled equipment, set cement, raked gravel, etc.  And we had good weather!  The Juneau Empire provided great PR for the effort with an article about the project:  http://juneauempire.com/local/2015-08-16/more-just-place-play#sthash.kTVoYD7R.dpuf

It was gratifying to see students enthusiastically jumping onto the new equipment the first day of school!  PTO members put together a large binder of thank-you's from the kids for each club.  A dedication was held in September and a youtube presentation of the project was shown:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SneKUys_7aU&feature=youtu.be#sthash.kTVoYD7R.dpuf

The community really pulled together to make this project happen!  Donors were thanked in the Juneau Empire and a sign is being prepared to recognize those who contributed at the playground site.  This project made us all proud to be Rotarians and members of the Juneau community!