Aviva grant revives schoolyard 0
Cameron Street's vice-principal Mae Senick and principal Mike Giffen stand in a paved area of the schoolyard that has been repainted with layouts for games.
COLLINGWOOD — Cameron Street's 330 students will see a change in their elementary school Tuesday morning, as they head through the doors on their way to their first day of class.
While there's still work to be done, the $90,000 awarded to the school by the Aviva Community Fund has already started to transform the school.
Out front in the Kindergarten area, an outdoor classroom with wooden benches and a raised platform beckons; on the east side of the school, the tarmac has been painted in bright, primary colours, with a variety of games.
Way at the back end of the school yard, raised garden beds were home to tomatoes and zucchinis over the summer, tended by Free Spirit gardens.
Still to be done is the front entrance and the lettering on the school. Principal Mike Giffen says that should be ready for the school's open house, to be held sometime in late September.
"Some of this has been very subtle change, as it's taking advantage of the natural environment," said Giffen, as he and the school's new vice-principal, Mae Senick, took a reporter on a tour. "It's about promoting creative play."
The Aviva Community Fund doled out more than $1 million in January to 10 projects across Canada, after an intensive selection process that saw projects go through two rounds of online voting before a panel of judges selected the winners.
Cameron Street's project to revitalize its schoolyard was up against another 230 projects in the 'medium budget' category from across the county.
The school community was also able to use the money to clean up the two ball diamonds in the schoolyard, remove a couple of outdated play structures, and create gravel pathways.
A second outdoor classroom at the front of the school on the southwest side, which was already in place, also underwent some sprucing up.
Giffen said there was a delay of a couple of weeks, as the school's driveway and parking lot were repaved; that was a school board project, and not part of the Aviva grant.
"All the work that's been done has been based on our natural environment, and taking pride in the environment that's already here," said Giffen. "That was in keeping with the whole theme of the competition, and reflects Cameron's commitment to environmental awareness."