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‘Goosebumps’ at Surrey school as students cheer new playground, years in the making

‘It’s been quite the journey, and there was a big team approach to this,’ says Senator Reid Elementary principal
Students enjoy the new playground at Senator Reid Elementary in Surrey. (Submitted photo)

Kids at one Surrey school are enjoying a fun new playground several years in the making.

The new accessible playground at Senator Reid Elementary was built thanks to tireless fundraising efforts on several fronts.

It cost nearly $200,000 to build the accessible ramps, rubber ground surface, monkey bars and a bus that shakes, among other features of the playground, in the Cedar Hills area.

The schoolyard’s old climbing structure was removed a few years ago.

“It was well used and loved but it had been deemed unserviceable,” said school principal Laura Fenton. “The trees had grown so much in that area and we didn’t want to damage the trees, so the new site was adjacent to another playground structure.”

Construction of the new playground began last fall, following a student vote for monkey bars over ropes.

“We made an announcement to the students that we’d be getting the playground and literally every classroom was cheering and clapping for about three minutes,” Fenton recalled. “They were just so excited, it still gives me goosebumps.”

News of the playground opening is posted to Surrey Schools website.

“This play structure symbolizes the importance of community – this could not have happened if it wasn’t for all of our donors,” stated Terry Allen, trustee with Surrey Board of Education.

“It was the community, the district, the school, the students and staff – everybody worked together and had a part in it,” added Fenton. “It’s been quite the journey, and there was a big team approach to this. We couldn’t have done this ourselves, it takes a team and a community, and we’re very grateful.”

Funds came from a provincial grant program for universally accessible playgrounds ($165,000), Tire Stewardship of BC ($12,200), Marathon Surfaces ($12,275), the school PAC ($5,000), former staff member Corinne Alain ($500), student sales (nearly $1,000) and a donation from the Grade 7 class of 2019.

The playground surface includes more than 2,278 square feet of recycled B.C. tire rubber, or 8,600 kilograms of the material – equivalent to 1,391 scrap tires.

To date, Tire Stewardship BC has given more than $5 million dollars in community grants, and applications for 2022 are accepted until March 17, on

“Senator Reid Elementary is a fantastic community school that provides a lot of support and supplies for its students that come from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, including food, clothing, and school supplies, and they continue to be proactive in looking at ways to meet the diverse needs of their students,” said Rosemary Sutton, Tire Stewardship BC’s executive director.

“This is why we are very proud to partner with Senator Reid Elementary on the development of this new playground that is wheelchair accessible, environmentally friendly and safe for the children. The recycled rubber surface is also locally made, low maintenance, and can handle all weather conditions. TSBC continues to look for opportunities to provide financial resources to organizations that use recycled tire products for projects that enhance the quality of life for all British Columbians.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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