As Kirkland continues to grow and modernize, local schools need help keeping up with increasing population and aging infrastructure. The Rose Hill community is rallying around Mark Twain Elementary’s fundraising effort to expand and modernize its playground.
At nearly 20 years old the playground at Mark Twain Elementary needs to be updated and expanded, according to officials. It is too small to accommodate Twain’s swelling school population.
Twain is currently one of the largest elementary schools in Lake Washington School District and the kids go to recess in three shifts throughout the day. However, even with the student body taking turns playing on the playground each day, only a small portion of students can find room to play. Watching students crowd onto the play structure at recess, Molly Honig said she can clearly see the need for a larger playground.
Honig has two students at Mark Twain and is taking on the challenge of raising money to update the playground.
“We need a larger play structure for our kids to climb, explore, and have fun,” she said.
“Play is an important part of childhood development,” added Craig Mott, Principle of Mark Twain Elementary. “Play encourages students to use their creativity while developing physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. This new playground is needed to better serve our growing student population and community.”
Working with other concerned Mark Twain PTSA members, Honig formed a committee last Fall to address the challenge. The goal is to raise $82,000 by the end of the February for a summer installation; the timeline defined by the Lake Washington School District. That money will be used to cover the cost of the new equipment. Honig said the School District is covering the cost of site preparation and installation.
Fundraising began last fall with a casino night and silent auction hosted by Honig at the Kirkland Fraternal Order of Eagles.
“Thanks to contributions from Lee Johnson Chevrolet, another local retail business, and individual members of the Mark Twain community, we were able to raise nearly $6,000 that night,” Honig said.
Since the initial fundraising event, the bulk of the fundraising has been done through direct contributions from community members. Donors are able to make a permanent mark on the new playground through purchasing customized bricks, charms, or a bench which will be installed on the playground.
“It has been great to see so many in the community reach out and support the cause so far,” Honig said. “We’re counting on continued community support to carry us to our goal.”
A website has been created where people can review playground designs and contribute by purchasing customized pavers, fence charms, boulders, or a buddy bench. https://www.twainplayground.com/
As of this week a total of $67,000 has been raised.
With the Lake Washington School District deadline looming Honig is hopeful about meeting the fundraising goal.
“The Rose Hill community has been a great supporter of our work, from local businesses, to community members, to matching contributions form companies like Google and Microsoft,” Honig said. “We are so incredibly close to our goal and with just a few more donations we can fully fund this amazing new play-space for our kids.”
The new play structure will be installed in time for the start of the 2018-2019 school year.