Centennial Elementary students are gearing up to raise money for a new playground at the school’s second annual Walkathon Friday, May 11. Organizers have set a fundraising goal of $50,000 for this year’s walkathon. The inaugural walkathon, held in 2017, raised $38,000 through corporate sponsorships and students’ fundraising efforts.

The 2018 event will take place – rain or shine – at Centennial Elementary during school hours on May 11. Students will make their way through eight “fun zones” – group activities designed to let the kids be active while having fun. Fun zone activities include hula hoops and bubbles, crab soccer, ninja warrior, hopscotch, an obstacle course, tag, yoga and Hy-Vee Kids Fit.

“The kids have so much fun with the walkathon,” said Kerrie Bernstein, Centennial Elementary instructional coach and chair of the walkathon planning committee. “Each student, school employee and volunteer gets a matching t-shirt, so everyone knows this is a big deal, and everyone is included.”

Centennial’s PTA has been raising money for the new playground project for the past 13 months, and expects to reach the goal of $129,148 needed for the first two phases of the project with funds raised through this year’s walkathon. “Our current playground is outdated and we are no longer able to find replacement parts for it, so there is a real need to upgrade our equipment,” said Lori Waddell, Centennial Elementary principal. “If we raise our goal of $50,000 this year, we will have enough to cover phases 1 and 2, and we will have some left so we can get started planning for phase 3.”

In addition to funds raised through last year’s walkathon and other PTA fundraising efforts, the school received grants from Polk County and Prairie Meadows and a donation from the City of Altoona. Several local businesses are donating labor and materials toward the new playground, including Rasmussen Group, donating concrete labor and rebar donation and installation; Liberty Ready Mix, donating concrete; and PTD Construction, donating labor for demolition and ground preparation.

Installation of the new playground equipment is scheduled to begin in June. Phases one and two include replacing the main, large outdated piece of equipment, adding two smaller pieces of equipment and two “buddy benches,” and replacing the wood chips with rubber tile. Phase three will consist of replacing wood chips throughout the rest of the playground area with rubber tile.

To find out more about the event, visit bit.ly/SEPcentennialwalkathon or call 515-967-2109. Donations can be made online at the event website, in person at the school or mailed to the school at 910 7th Ave SE, Altoona, Iowa 50009.