Eagle Valley Elementary nets $7,000 grant for playground
EAGLE — The Great Outdoors Colorado board awarded a $7,000 School Play Yard Initiative grant to Eagle Valley Elementary School.
Eagle Valley Elementary was one of five schools awarded funding for professional design services. The grant will help guide the community through a student-led design process before the school reapplies for construction funds in April.
For the first time, the School Play Yard Initiative will partner schools with Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Schools and Outdoor Learning Environment program to provide field trips, family nature nights and outdoor education training for teachers.
“It is a very competitive grant that awards $100,000 to selected schools,” said Suzi Robinson, an Eagle Valley Elementary parent who has been fundraising for the project.
EVES is the oldest elementary school in the school district and boasts a bilingual education program. Approximately 50 percent of students are eligible for free and reduced lunches, 50 percent of students are English language learners and most of the student body lives within half a mile of the school.
“The playground will also serve the greater community, so the benefits of this project extends beyond the student body,” said Robinson.
The community has engaged in fundraising and outreach efforts for the past three years. This past spring, parent and community volunteers installed learning gardens for each grade and the student-led playground committee and youth task force planned and hosted the Fiesta Fun Run to raise matching funds for the grant.
To date, Great Outdoors Colorado has invested $18.2 million in Eagle County, preserving more than 4,500 acres of land. Great Outdoors Colorado funding has supported Sylvan State Park, Eagle Information Center’s boat ramp and the Eagle Valley trail. Eagle County was also recently named a Great Outdoors Colorado Inspire Community and will be part of a $25 million initiative to get kids outside.
There are three keys to look at when deciding the bonus days: staffing, skier excitement and conditions.