Sidney Glen celebrates silver anniversary with new big toy

Principal says school’s PTA raised about $40,000 for project

Sidney Glen Elementary School celebrated its 25th anniversary not with silver, but a commodity more interesting to children — a new big toy.

Principal Jason Shdo said the structure, which was in the planning stages for more than two years, was unveiled Sept. 11.

Procuring a new structure became a priority, Shdo said, because the school’s original big toy had worn to a point where it “was about to be condemned.” After researching potential playground options, Shdo said the SiteLines Co. of Everett was selected to build the structure.

“There were some that we researched that we realized within 2 to 3 years were having breaking issues,” he said. “This company has had about a 30-year record of big toys that stand the test of time.”

Shdo said the new structure, which features a blue and lime-green color scheme that matches the Seattle Seahawks, cost around $50,000.

Shdo said the school’s PTA raised about $40,000 and the rest of the funds came from a variety of other donors and school funds. The process was challenging, he said, because the PTA officials had to pass on other requests to concentrate on the new big toy.

Shdo believes that sent an important message to students.

“We focus on grit,” he said. “Part of grit is holding to your goals and sticking to them. Good things happen if you stick to your goals.”

The big toy, which features bridges, slides and a rock wall that are common on many playgrounds, was designed to fit into the blueprint of the previous structure.

Shdo also noted there are several balancing stools and “whisper tools,” which are pipes that extend underground and allow students to talk with each other across the playground.

“Part of it is you have to have it wheelchair accessible,” he said, adding there are about 15 different components students can use on the playground. “You have to design it so kids can use it in all different ways. We’re hoping that kids with some kind of disability can still really play with it and have fun with it.”

In addition to the new big toy, students commemorated the anniversary with a large mosaic in the gym, which Shdo said featured a piece of artwork from every student in the school.

“We’ve got the Seahawks colors going,” Shdo said. “Everybody’s on that bandwagon.”

And Sidney Glen’s.

Both of these structures … we’re saying represent the celebration of our 25 years of existence,” Shdo said.

“It was a really great community celebration.”