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Woodson Play-A-Thon raises $1,300

Woodson Kindergarten Center families and friends got together to play for a cause this weekend — and raised about $1,300.

The school held a Play-A-Thon and rummage sale Saturday to raise money to purchase and install new playground equipment this summer.

“We had a fun family day on Saturday and a successful start to our fundraising,” Woodson principal Jean McDermott said.

Local businesses, organizations and individual families have donated almost $20,000 to date toward the $50,000 project. This includes matching donations from the Hormel Foods Corporation trust program, available to Hormel employees and retirees, McDermott said.

Students also held a Pails of Pennies fundraiser, which brought in $1,700.

A committee of educators and future Woodson parents seeks to replace playground structures that are up to 30 years old, as well as fence in an adjacent field by September. The current structures are not equipped to handle Woodson’s growing enrollment and some of the old wooden equipment, McDermott said, can be dangerous.

The new playground would include basketball hoops, several jungle gyms, an additional swing set and benches.

The group almost has enough funds to order and install a large playground structure this summer, McDermott said.

They are still hoping to raise more funds by June 4, in time to order smaller pieces of equipment including fencing, basketball hoops and benches.

The committee currently has outstanding grant applications, which would not be awarded until after the summer deadline.

The group originally sought to replace mulch at the playground with two 5,000-square-feet areas of rubber flooring, which would cost $75,000 each, and make the playground safe and accessible to students with special needs.

That amount of fundraising was not deemed feasible, McDermott said last week.

Rent and Save, local Rotaract members, Ellis Middle School WORD students and parent and staff volunteers sponsored the Play-A-Thon.