Eagle Valley Elementary nets $7,000 grant for playground | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley Elementary nets $7,000 grant for playground

Crews complete some finishing touches on the school garden structure at Eagle Valley Elementary. The garden, along with a new playground at the school, is plannned to support the EVES International Baccalaureate program.
Pam Boyd/pboyd@eaglevalleyenterprise.com |

EAGLE — The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board has awarded a $7,000 School Play Yard Initiative grant to Eagle Valley Elementary International Baccalaureate (IB) World School.

EVES 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 2016.

For the first time, the School Play Yard Initiative will partner schools with Colorado Parks & Wildlife’s Schools and Outdoor Learning Environment (SOLE) program that will provide field trips, family nature nights, and outdoor education training for teachers. When it applied for the grant, EVES knew they were in a competitive arena.

“It is a very competitive grant that awards $100,000 to selected schools,” said Suzi Robinson, one of the EVES parents who has been fund-raising for the project.

EVES is the oldest elementary school in the Eagle County School District, and boasts a bilingual education program to serve its highly diverse population. Approximately 50 percent of students are eligible for free and reduce lunch rate, 50 percent of students are English Language Learners and most of the student body lives within half a mile of the school.

An important component of IB school curriculum is stewardship of the earth; the GOCO grant will not only revitalize a once-loved playground, but will also expand learning opportunities for students.

“The playground will also serve the greater community, so the benefits of this project extends beyond the student body. The playground structures will be related to some of our IB Learner Profiles such as, Risk Taker, Balanced, and Caring; our IB Attitudes such as, Cooperation and Curiosity; and some of our Transdisciplinary Themes such as, How We Express Ourselves, How the World Works, and Sharing The Planet,” said Robinson.

The community has already engaged in fundraising and outreach efforts for the last three years. In spring of 2015, parent and community volunteers installed learning gardens for each grade and the student-led playground committee and youth task force planned and hosted the First Annual Fiesta Fun Run to raise matching funds for the GOCO grant.

To date, GOCO has invested $18.2 million in Eagle County, preserving more than 4,500 acres of land. GOCO funding has supported Sylvan State Park, Eagle Information Center’s boat ramp, and the Eagle Valley trail. Eagle County was also recently named a GOCO Inspire community and will be part of a $25 million initiative to get kids outside.