Schoolyard Angels

Students, Community Both Pitch In To Revamp Fulks Run Playground

Posted: October 3, 2012

Fulks Run Elementary School third-grader Clara Lorenzen tries out the school’s new equipment during recess. Students and community members raised $25,000 to replace the school’s old playground structure. Principal David Wenger called the community support the key to success. (Photos by Nikki Fox / DN-R)
Fulks Run Elementary School third-graders enjoy new playground equipment at recess. A schoolwide project got the students involved in raising money for the equipment.
HARRISONBURG — The tires had become so worn on the old Fulks Run Elementary School play structure’s bridge that the cords had started to show.

Though the splintering wooden structure was still safe and fit for use, Principal David Wenger said it had seen better days.

“[The structure] had done well for us,” he said. “It was just showing some wear and tear.”

On Monday, students, community members and parents came together to celebrate what has replaced the old jungle gym on the school grounds — a shiny new red, white and yellow playground with “a whole bunch of things on it,” according to fifth-grader Grace Trumbo, 10.

“There’s something to climb on — it’s in the shape of a wave — and it’s got different squares you can climb on and there are …  different slides and there is a place where you can step onto like a platform and you can bounce on it,” Grace said. “I think a playground is a pretty important part of a school because kids need something they can use their energy on.”

Students were fully immersed in the project’s purchasing pro-cess through a schoolwide project that incorporated several subjects, including math, reading and writing. Wenger said the process, mainly completed throughout the 2011-12 school year, also taught students about responsibility, planning ahead and making good purchases.

“I kind of learned that a playground doesn’t just come; you can’t just get it ready overnight,” Grace said. “It takes a long time to get it done.”

“We were trying to incorporate more [into physical education] with different SOLs,” said Lindsay Wilhelm, a physical education teacher at the school who helped spearhead the teaching project.

Community Support

The surrounding community also had a lot to do with the completion of the play structure, Wenger said.

Although students raised about 75 percent of the necessary funds — the project cost about $25,000 in all — community involvement was key.

“We knew as a small school with that size a project we were going to need some community support,” Wenger said. “Even in the down economy, our community continued to support us through fundraising in a pretty good fashion. That says to me that people are sacrificing in other areas to continue to help finance schools.”

Those who helped include the Fulks Run Ruritans, who took down the old equipment and hauled it away, and Lantz Construction employees, who installed the new equipment. The Fulks Run Ruritans, local Veterans of Foreign Wars members and the Bergton Ruritans also supported the project financially, Wenger said.

“Everybody pitched in, whether it was finances or labor,” he said, “or whether it was just supporting the kids when they came around.”

Contact Emily Sharrer at 574-6286 or

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