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January 26, 2011 - 2:52pm

Byron-Bergen School in the running for Pepsi grant

posted by Billie Owens in byron-bergen school.

Byron-Bergen Elementary School’s Playground Committee is close to receiving funding in Pepsi’s Refresh Contest.

It's a monthly online competition in which nonprofit groups compete against each other for grants ranging from $5,000 to $100,000.

Currently, the Playground Committee is ranked ninth in the online competition. The top 10 ideas receive funding. Voting ends Jan. 31.

To learn more about this local project, or to vote on the Pepsi grant, visit http://refr.es/bb. Voting can be done through the website or by texting 105424 to Pepsi (73774).

“We need to develop healthy activities for children,” said Andrea Stasko, a member of the Health and Wellness Committee. “Our current playground is not large enough to accommodate the number of students for its usage, and it does not fulfill the physical fitness components that could benefit our students.”

The playground committee has been working for more than a year to raise funds to update and enlarge the school's old, much used playground. The new playground will be handicapped accessible so students with varying needs are not sitting on the sidewalk watching others play.

The committee hopes to win a $50,000 grant for the project. Of that, $40,000 would be used for equipment, $6,500 would be spent on resurfacing, and the remaining $3,500 would pay for concrete and excavation work.

Plans call for the playground to have play space and activities for the newest population of students, 3- and 4-year-olds who come from Pre-K. It will have lots of activites to exercise students' bodies in many different ways.

To improve students' physical and social development, they need to be able to climb, crawl, swing, slide, jump, balance, hang, push, pull, bounce, stomp, spin, run and play.

The small, rural school district is the center of the community and many families use the playground as a source for exercise, play and a meeting place to gather and socialize, according to Stasko.

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