Playground changes

Students say goodbye to mulch

By Shae Dolisi

Doug Goltz, Tony Ahern and Tom Bullock cut the tape at the Sacred Heart Open House event to present the new playground flooring surface.

Changes to the school campus over the summer have many Sacred Heart parents shouting for joy: black stains on clothing and shoes will be no more! In addition to new flooring in the high school wing of the building, several improvements also occurred outside on the playground.

One of the biggest changes was the installation of a new playground sofSURFACES rubber flooring in place of the old tire rubber mulch. Longtime Sacred Heart supporter Tom Bullock began to research ideas for a new playground four years ago, and the plan was to get rid of the crumb rubber because it got on shoes and clothing and was often tracked into the school building. The rubber was also unsafe for students because it would move around, and some places would have more rubber than others. It was a hazard because students could fall and land on a patch with less rubber and get hurt.

After starting the fundraising project at the 2023 Booster Club Auction and Fund Night, the planning for the new surface started in April of 2023. There were more than forty Sacred Heart volunteers that removed the old rubber mulch on June 3, and it was then sold to Clay Center, Nebraska. A cement curb barrier was installed by Brandon Schawang Masonry, and a cement base was put in by Metzger Construction.

Alex and Amanda Seeba volunteered their time to power wash all the playground equipment and concrete. The green and black sofSURFACES tiles were installed by Crouch Recreation, and the whole project was managed by Tony Ahern, who made sure that everything was done correctly and spent countless hours working on completing the project.

New sod was donated by Chad Scholl and installed around the playground area. By the time the project was complete, the total cost was over $100,000. On August 13 the whole project was complete, just in time for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that took place during Open House.

The first fundraiser for the playground sofSURFACES flooring was a gift card raffle fundraiser. Each Sacred Heart family was asked to donate gift cards and sell some raffle tickets. The goal was $3,000 worth of gift cards and three winners were drawn on Open House night.

The school is still earning money to cover the cost of the flooring through volunteers that sell stadium seats at home Husker football games along with several other fundraisers.