One of Swift Current's schools is closing in on its fundraising target to provide students with a new recreation area.

During the summer O.M. Irwin School had a new playground structure installed on the north side of its property and is hoping to complete the area with a rubberized surface and gazebo.

Janelle Larson, the Chair of the School Community Council for O.M. Irwin School, said the project began as an idea after the school added students from the closure of Ashley Park School.

"Everything becoming K-8 it became a realization that the 4-8's don't really have an area they can call their own," she said. "So then the playground project started because the kids are still young that they need something to play on and we're also trying to make everything accessible for everyone."

The project received some local backing in June of 2023 when Innovation Federal Credit Union gifted them $25,000 through its Legacy Community & Development Grant Fund.

"It's very exciting that we're almost there," she said. "With the help of Innovation, we're now closer to getting there than being years away."

The playground, rubberized surface, and gazebo are expected to cost $60,000 when complete and they're now within $10,000 of making it all a reality.

Grade four student Darby Schafer is a big fan of the new playground and is looking forward to the gazebo being constructed.

"I think it's going to be fun, definitely a lot better than the rocks (on the area currently) and it's going to be so much more popular," he said. "A bunch more kids that play on the grass are going to come play on the playground now."

Emery Tynning, a grade four student, echoed her classmate's thoughts and said she's seen the impact the playground has had during recess firsthand. 

"It's really fun," she said. "It sometimes gets a little bit crowded, and I get to use it lots."

The school's fundraising efforts will continue as they close in on being able to afford the rubberized surface and gazebo.

"By the way our school and everyone is working towards this goal, I'm fairly confident that we will be able to get it all done for the next school year," Larson said.

Anyone interested in contributing to the fundraising efforts can contact O.M. Irwin School and ask to speak with Principal Arron Kohlman or Janelle Larson. 

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