New Playground Needs 'S.T.E.M.' 5K Fundraiser Initiative

The Richfield S.T.E.M. School PTO is hosting run-walk 5K to coincide with the Penn Fest Open Streets event Sept. 16.

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Before being rebranded as 2010, the former Richfield Intermediate School housed third-, fourth- and fifth-graders, and at one time,  sixth-graders.

Now that the building is home to kindergarten through Grade 5 students, parents have become concerned about the safety of the playground equipment.

"We have some kids as young as four years old now," Lisa Randolph, a member of S.T.E.M.'s PTO told Richfield Patch. "We need to make the playground safer for those little kids."

PTO head agreed and said in an e-mail: "It would be really nice to have something that both 5 year olds and 10 year olds are excited to play on."

With this in mind, the PTO has undertaken the duty of raising nearly $200,000 to replace the playground. And for its first major fundraiser, the parent group—under the leadership of Randolph and her husband, Jim—has put together the .

The Race

and coincides with the fifth annual Penn Fest neighborhood and business block party, which is being ampted up this year with the Open Streets intiative. The 5K and a half mile Kids' Run will begin and end at , Randolph said.

"We're doing more of a 'fun run' kind of thing," she said. "And we'll have family entertainment and prize drawings in the park before and after the event."

The race won't be officially timed, however, there will be a clock at the finishline for runners to see how they did. And, of course, each 5K participant will receive a t-shirt for their contribution and effort.

A Community Benefit

The company that would be producing the new equipment is local and everything is made in the USA, Olson said.

"[The company has] even offered to let our students take a filed trip to their plant in Delano to watch it be made," she said.

Randolph said the new playground would not just be an asset to S.T.E.M. school kids. With the large neighborhood surrounding the school and the fact that the school's fields are utilized by area many sports teams, Randolph believes a new playyground would go beyond recess.

"It's more than just S.T.E.M. kids that use the playground," Randolph said. "It will benefit the whole community."

Helping Others

The existing playground will not just be thrown away. Rockford, IL-based Kids Around The World is a nonprofit that aims to provide safe play equipment to kids who have to deal with things other than just being a kid. According to Randolph, when the old playground is ready to be removed, the nonprofit will do so, refurbish what it can and send it to another community that needs it.

"So [the old equipment] won't go to waste," she said. "It's also helping with our costs."

The PTO hopes to have all the funds raised by next summer so the removal and the replacement can happen prior to the start of the 2013-14 school year.

"It's an ambitious goal," Randolph said. "We don't know if it's possible, but we're going to try."


The cost for the 5K is $25 in advance, $30 on race day; the kids run is $5 in advance, $10 on race day. Registration for the Kids' Run begins at 10 a.m. with the race beginning at 10:30 a.m. Registration for the 5K begins at 11 a.m. with the race beginning at 11:30 a.m. At 12:30 p.m. a prize drawing will be held.

To pre-register for the 5K, go to active.com and search for Richfield STEM School Back to School 5K.

kerry June 17, 2013 at 11:12 AM
SO? How did this work out? How did you get the old playground to the organization in Illinois? We are in the same boat at our school...we need $110,000.00 to create an ADA compliant playground. Currently our playground is 25 years old, unsafe and out of ADA compliance. Agh. It is a lot of money to have to raise...the equipment is only $36,000.00...it is the poured in place flooring and the demolition/installation that is out of control. Why don't the school districts budget for plagyground replacement? We are in California...agh!


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