New nature play area at Booragoon Primary School donated by community

Sixty thousand reasons to celebrate: the team that built the nature playground for $1000 instead of the estimated $60,000.
Sixty thousand reasons to celebrate: the team that built the nature playground for $1000 instead of the estimated $60,000.

WHEN the Booragoon Primary School community decided the children needed a nature play area, they weren't prepared to let the estimated $60,000 price tag get in the way.

Initially raising more than $20,000 to get the project started, a group of dads then decided to take on the challenge of seeing how much they could do for free.

The result has been a new playground costing less than $1000 which had the added benefit of bringing the community together to gather donations, chip in and get their hands dirty.

Project manager Paul Buckman said students designed the playground themselves after Principal Barbara Horan agreed to allow an unused area of the school grounds to be converted into a nature play area.

After researching similar projects, the P&C discovered the cost could be as high as $150,000 but decided on a budget of $60,000.

A quiz night raised $22,000 and the Grounds Committee set to work planning. Mr Buckman said they set themselves a challenge to see what they could get donated in the way of timber, mulch, machinery and other items.

‘We realised if we all got off our tails and picked up the phone, we could source most of it for free,’ Mr Buckman said.

Local businesses were generous and the team worked hard to ensure everything the children had requested was included in the plans.

Last weekend, more than 100 parents and children turned up at the school and went to work, building the playground in one 12-hour stint.

‘We think when the final bill comes in we’ll have spent less than $1000 and about half of that was to keep everyone fed and watered on the day,’ Mr Buckman said.

See pics here or a timelapse video below.