Students need a place to play. This is the sentiment of Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) members for Lake Cowichan Secondary School (LCSS).
For the past two years Jodi McKenzie, PAC chair, along with a core group of six other PAC members, have been raising funds to build a sport court for students at LCSS. So far the group has raised $3,000 out of the $15,000 they would like to raise before applying for any grants. The total amount needed to clear and prepare the area as well as build the court is an estimated $30,000-$40,000, however McKenzie says she won’t know until the group has chosen a court and had an estimate done. “We don’t want to pursue this until we are closer to the half way point. In order to apply for grant money, we need to show that we are serious by hopefully raising about $15,000 on our own.” Any grant money the group receives would be put towards for the court itself, fixed hockey nets, basketball nets, as well as the surface of the court.
The idea for the sport court was born out of necessity, says McKenzie. “Right now our middle school kids do not have a play area. They were using the old Stanley Gordon field and playground but that posed a huge safety concern when you consider that it takes the staff around 4-6 minutes to walk from the high school, up all the stairs and onto the playground,” says McKenzie. The possibility that something could happen to the kids on their way to Stanley Gordon was stressful for staff and a concern for parents. “Also, the playground is very old and not in the best of shape, as well as the fact that we have at least one child in our school, who, because of physical challenges, was unable to utilize the entire area at all because he cannot walk up to the playground and was often left alone in the library to read a book instead of being with friends.”
The sport court isn’t just for students. McKenzie hopes the entire community will utilize the space, whether it’s a group of dads playing basketball on the weekend, or individuals and groups honing their road hockey skills before Lake Days, “everyone wins.”
Right now there are a handful of dedicated PAC members who have been the driving force behind the sport court. “This is pretty typical,” says McKenzie. “It always seems you that you have a small group of people willing to pitch in where needed.”
There is no deadline for the completion of the court or for raising funds, but PAC members would like to see it happen sooner rather than later. McKenzie says she hopes that the kids will be able to use the court in three years, but this will depend on the results of fundraising efforts and other issues involved.
Future fundraising events include a bottle drive, a catalogue, and a “big kid” fall fair. Details to be announced.
Currently the group is also looking into ways in which the community can make direct donations but the details on this still have to be worked out. For more information, or to make a donation or volunteer your time, contact McKenzie at 250-749-4466.