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December 3, 2010 - 1:24pm

Robert Morris School seeks votes for $50,000 grant to improve playground

posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, playground, Robert Morris School.

This story has been updated, see below.

Robert Morris Elementary School is among 1,000 competitors in the Pepsi Refresh Project this month -- and if all goes well, they'll be one of the grant recipients. They want you to cast votes for them -- that's how the winners are chosen.

The school, located at 80 Union St. in Batavia, submitted a project idea to build a better, environmentally friendly playground there.

Each month, Pepsi ponies up $1.2 million in grant funds for worthy projects in the United States. Thus, there are 12 submission periods. If a project doesn't win one month, it can be resubmitted, according to the website rules. And if it made the top 100, it will automatically be rolled into the next month's competition.

This month, there were 1,096 ideas submitted. But only the first 1,000 are considered and only 32 will win money. It breaks down like this: two get $250,000; 10 get $50,000; 10 get $25,000; and 10 get $5,000.

The grants fall into six categories: health and fitness; food and shelter, education; The Planet; neighborhoods; and arts and culture.

People can go online and vote up to 10 times a day per person, per IP address/account. Voting ends at the end of December. Potential winners will be notified within the first week of January. Actual winners will be posted online by mid-month.

UPDATE:

Robert Morris School Principal Diane Bonarigo said that playground improvements -- designed by Parkitects -- are based on surveys filled out by parents, teachers and students.

Some features of the new playground would include safer and more usable equipment for kids with disabilities, equipment that is more suited for younger children, solar lighting in the evening for safety, more trees and mulch, and more opportunities for kids to get active.

Teacher Jerry Sloan said that the Playground Committee, of which he is the faculty leader, wanted this project to extend "beyond the scope of our school."

"The playground is used by the community," said teacher Jerry Sloan of the Playground Committee. "And for a lot of kids, it's one of the few available means of recreation."

"We're not just doing this for us," Bonarigo said. "We're doing it for the community. We think it will benefit (Batavia) for years to come."

1. You can go to refresheverything.com/robertmorrisplagyround, where you can find more information -- including a video made by students, staff and parents -- and vote by clicking the "Vote for this idea" tab (upper right).

2. You can also vote via text messaging. Simply text to 73774 and enter 104607 in the message.

3. If you have a Facebook account, you can enter your Facebook username and password to cast your vote (and also share with friends).

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