In September, Ring Elementary School's enrollment will be increasing by three more full-day preschool programs, which will put a crunch on the school's playground.
"Right now, we have one playground, and it is geared toward children ages 5 to 12. At this point, we have 470 students sharing it throughout the course of the day, so you will have fourth-graders mixed with kindergarteners. Unfortunately, it's not geared toward children under the age of 5, so it eliminates any preschool classrooms or any young kindergarteners using it," said Jen Goshgarian, kindergarten teacher.
She said that with Rogers Elementary School closing next year, Ring will be gaining three full-day preschool programs, and those students will not have a place to play.
Recognizing a need for a new playground, Mrs. Goshgarian, along with fellow kindergarten teacher Brandi Meachum, and other teachers stepped up to find a way to raise money to build a new playground. They formed a Primary Playground Committee, made up of parents and teachers, for their cause.
The committee set a goal of raising $75,000 in order to build the new playground that will accommodate children ages 3 through 12. So far, they have raised around $22,000, and believe that they are right on track to begin building by the summer of 2013.
The next major fundraiser that the Primary Playground Committee will be holding is going to be holding an "Our Community Cares" auction.
"Most of our fundraisers are geared toward the families here at school, and are child-centered, because it is for our playground, and that is where our mindset was. But, it is nice to have a different idea and get an adult night out, away from the kids," said Carrie Grahm, parent member of the committee.
The event will feature a silent auction, Chinese auction and a live auction by Himes Auction Co. Additionally, there will be a light meal catered by Miley's and feature music, which will be provided by Prime Time DJ Service. There will also be a cash bar.
"Beyond the auction, it will be a really fun night out, too," Mrs. Goshgarian said.
Currently, the Primary Playground Committee has received donations of more than 50 live auction items, more than 30 Chinese auction items, and more than a dozen silent auction items, with more donations pouring in.
One of the highlights of the auction will be a never-before-worn wedding dress, valued at more than $500, which was donated.
Additional prizes include Adirondack chairs, made and donated by students from Maple Grove High School; end tables made and donated by students from Jamestown High School; mini-vacation getaway packages to locations such as Rochester; autographed pictures from professional athletes; gift certificates to area businesses; seasons tickets to the Jamestown Jammers; and many more.
The grand prize will be a raffle for a $2,500 AAA family vacation voucher. One ticket for the giveaway will be $10, or three tickets will cost $25.
Lena's Pizza in Jamestown, Reed's Jewelers in Lakewood and Tigger Trucking of Fredonia have also been big sponsors of the playground program throughout all of the committee's fundraising.
The company that the school hired to design the new playground is called Parkitects Inc. The company uses materials that will last longer than some other playgrounds, and won't rust.
"The money that we are putting into this playground is really a long-term thing. We aren't trying to get a cheaper material or something we are going to have to really maintain. The company does yearly checks for us, and they also do the landscaping. They will be incorporating the trees that are already here, so it is really nature-friendly," Mrs. Meachum said.
The Primary Playground Committee would like to extend the invitation to the entire community to not only attend the auction, but to use the playground once it is built.
"It is a playground that community member's grandchildren can play on. Children that aren't even born yet are going to benefit from this. It's not just the kids who are in the school today, it's the children who will come through. We are just trying to reach out to everybody to bring the community together for a good cause," Ms. Grahm said.
The "Our Community Cares" auction will be held June 9 in the Crystal Ballroom inside the Hotel Jamestown building on West Third Street. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the live auction will begin at 7:05. The $5 admission includes a bidder card and meal. It is a 21-and-over event.