Students at Gateway Christian School celebrated their two new playgrounds on Thursday. (Photo contributed)

WATCH: More reason to play at Red Deer schools

New playgrounds at St. Elizabeth Seton School and Gateway Christian School

Snow failed to stop students at two Red Deer schools from celebrating their new playgrounds on Thursday.

Elementary students at St. Elizabeth Seton School were climbing, spinning and bouncing on their new playground at morning recess after a playground blessing ceremony was held and before a family barbecue.

Principal Sinead Armstrong said the new playground was two years in the making.

“Our school community has grown significantly over the last few years so to make room for some portables to come in we had to dismantle and take apart one of the existing playgrounds,” Armstrong said on Thursday.

About $120,000 was raised through fundraising, donations and sponsorship for the playground built in June.

Alberta Blue Cross provided $50,000 towards the project through its Healthy Community Grant Program. Ing & McKee and Wawanesa donated $25,000. The City of Red Deer prepared the area in order to install the playground.

Armstrong said children at the Red Deer Catholic Regional School and in the neighbourhood love their new playground that can accommodate younger and older elementary students.

“It’s packed every lunch hour and every recess break. On the weekends it’s being used by neighbouring families.”

She said physical education teachers also take students out to the playground to practise their climbing and jumping skills.

One of the key features is a merry-go-round which cannot be found at most school or community playgrounds anymore.

“It has been a big hit,” Armstrong said.

On Thursday Gateway Christian School with Red Deer Public Schools also celebrated two new playgrounds — one called Red Deer Society for Christian Education 50th Anniversary Legacy Playground for kindergarten to Grade 3 students, and another for Grade 4 to 12 students.

The playground for younger students, fully funded by Red Deer Society for Christian Education, cost $265,000. It includes a climbing wall in honour of former Gateway Christian School student Chase Brewster, who was killed in a tragic accident in 2010. The wall was moved from Central Middle School which was Gateway’s former location.

The other playground cost $365,000 and was paid for by donors and a grant from the province.

Kimberly White, chair of both the playground committee and Gateway School Council, said her efforts to get the playgrounds started in 2014 when her son was disappointed with the lack of playground equipment at the school.

“My dream from the very start was to come to school this September and have the playground in the ground, ready for kids to play on. The first day of school, I was teary because it was so exciting to see all the kids on there,” White said.

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