In the interest of full disclosure, my children attend The Museum School (formerly of Avondale Estates), and these past few months I've been helping out on the planning committee for TMS' annual auction. It's been a lot of fun and very eye-opening in many ways. Specifically, The Museum School --which just moved into its permanent facility this fall -- does not yet have a usable playground (unheard of, I know?!). But when you have to prioritize, HVAC units versus a new slide, then I vote for my kids not sweating or freezing, too.
This said, we decided that building a new playground would be our auction's "Fund the Need" item for this year. I was ASTOUNDED when I learned how much it costs to build a playground! Ok, I understand that there are labor costs (removal of old equipment, grading of area, mulch, etc.), but I had no idea we would really need somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000 (no, that is not a typo and all zeros are in their proper place) to provide our students with a safe, up-to-code playground that they can use and enjoy.
I seriously nearly fainted when I leared that one "normal" playground slide costs in the neighborhood of $1,200?! And TMS needs not just one, but two, playgrounds (one that is suitable for children up to 6 years of age and one for children 6 to 12 years).
We're realistic. We know that the school's playground transformation won't happen overnight and will need to be phased in as we're doing with the renovation of the school's buildings, but when our children (daily) ask me and their teachers WHY they can't go play on the playground equipment that is currently onsite, it breaks everyone's hearts to have to reply, "Because it's not safe."
So, we're rolling up our sleeves and doing something about it. On Saturday evening at A Night at the Museum: Explorers Plant Their Future, attendees will have the opportunity to donate various levels of funding towards purchasing equipment and building the students a new playground. Best of all, anyone can help - community supporters, grandparents, friends, you name it -- by simply going online at www.tmsauction.com and clicking on the "Online Auction & Fund the Need" section. This will connect you to the online auction section where you can bid on great auction items as well as make pledges at various levels -- from $25 to $1,500 -- which will go towards the purchase of playground equipment and related materials.
On behalf of The Museum School's auction committee, I'd like to thank the Avondale Estates and Decatur community for its continued support and encouragement. Our children appreciate it more than you will ever know.