Ed Geric, third from the left, donates a $50,000 cheque to students from Royal Oak Middle School, principal Carly Hunter and vice principal Ken Bergeron. The money is from Geric Construction who have nearly completed the multi-building Travino project on the adjacent lot. Travis Paterson/News Staff

$50,000 donation secures new Royal Oak playground

Geric Construction steps in to complete playground fundraising

With the flick of the pen Royal Oak becomes the latest school to purchase a playground based solely on private fundraising.

Mike Geric Construction stepped forward with a $50,000 cheque to complete Royal Oak Middle School’s three-year fundraising campaign. The total cost is $74,000, which includes the cost of the equipment and the installation, with $24,000 of that coming from three year’s of fundraising for Royal Oak school (and much of that from it’s from Halloween Family fun event).

Ed Geric, who heads Mike Geric Construction, made the donation as a community amenity in a neighbourhood that his company has shaped over the past few decades. Geric’s latest development, the multi-building Travino Living condos, sit on the former Royal Oak school property immediately next to the current school, divided only by the new Greenlea-West Saanich Road connector (path), also built by Geric.

The playground will complement the sole climbing structure there now, between the school and the Travino.

“We saw this as an opportunity to give back after tremendous support from the school during the last few years of construction,” Geric said. “We encroached onto their property during the building process. And it’s not just for the school, [the Travino] has many older adults with grand kids, and it’s also for all of Royal Oak.”

For Grade 8 student Ava Rodier, the playground is a long time coming.

“This is really needed, for my time here in Grade 6, Grade 7, and now, we’ve had just one [small] playground for 600 kids.”

Ruby Sanders, also in Grade 8, agreed, saying it’s been boring at times not to have a playground.

“Having a playground is a great way for new students to meet and make friends, it gives kids a place to go.”

The new playground design is nearly complete. It is centred on a circuit theme, so that not only will it entertain children outside of class time, but so that teachers can also use it during physical education and as a brain breather, said principal Carly Hunter.

“The goal is to create a complete circuit in the playground so that a class can use it to break up the [day’s routine],” Hunter said. “With 650 students, we have been without a [proper] playground for so long, and this will be a middle school playground, not designed for elementary aged youth.”

Vice Principal Ken Bergeron said the construction to install the playground will begin within a few months.

reporter@saanichnews.com