Playground drive nearing school?s budget target

?Cost estimate for project is $185,000

Almost one year ago, a group of parents decided new playground equipment was needed at Hillsboro Elementary School, but with a price tag of nearly $185,000, it seemed more like a dream than a reality.

But for HES principal Evan Yoder and playground committee members, the outpouring of community support is what?s putting project fundraising over the top.

?I have so much gratitude to the people who came to the fundraising dinners, attended the carnival, donated food for different things and all those who contributed,? Yoder said.

Erin Beavers, playground committee chair, said so far the group has raised $107,000.

Artist rendering of the new playground equipment set up planned for Hillsboro Elementary School.

Some of the bigger donations have included $25,000 from the Hillsboro Community Foundation, $15,000 from Barkman Honey, $1,000 from Lang Diesel and $500 from both the Sons of the American Legion and Sprint.

The school district has designated $55,000 for the project, and Yoder said the committee has submitted applications for some sizable grants, which could put the project in the $150,000 to $170,000 ballpark.

Beavers said a grant application to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment would cover 50 percent of the surfacing costs if approved.

?We are planning to use rubber from recycled Kansas tires, and this grant has the potential to add approximately $46,000 to our raised total,? Beavers said.

?We are also working on an equipment grant through Kaboom that could net an additional $15,000.?

The committee hopes to hear back regarding both grants by the end of February.

Yoder said the committee?s first fundraising event was a spaghetti supper at the Hesston-Hillsboro basketball game last February.

?If I remember it right, I think we made $1,500 to $1,700,? he said. ?We didn?t know at that time it was going to be $180,000 we were shooting for.?

Between a fall carnival and meals sold through the Hillsboro Farmers Market, Yoder said the group raised almost $8,000.

?Those (fundraising drives) by the parents take a lot of work, and we have a great group of people working for this cause,? he said. ?We also have had generous offerings from people who don?t have a lot of excess income.?

Even though the playground committee is nearing its goal of $185,000, Beavers said it is still going to be short about $20,000 if all the grants are approved.

The committee is planning another fundraiser this spring, which will add a little more to that total.

For more information about donating, call the elementary school at 947-3991. Donations may be sent to the USD 410 central office, 416 S. Date, Hillsboro.

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