McLean County elementary school set to receive large donation for world-class playground

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NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Colene Hoose Elementary School is going to receive an estimated $5 million donation from alum and Normal resident Charlie Jobson, to build a world-class natural playground, using the school’s 16-acre grounds as a place for outdoor learning, and play.

Superintendent Kristen Weikle, and Colene Hoose Principal Adam Zbrozek presented plans for the playground to the board Wednesday night.

“This opportunity is really an opportunity not only for our current students in the district, future students, but also anyone that lives in the Bloomington-Normal community,” said Dr. Weikle.

The project will be fully funded by The Jobson Foundation, which has also pledged $70,000 to maintain the playground for its first three years.

“He’s doing this in honor of his mother and father, who lived, worked, and raised their children here for over 40 years,” said Dr. Zbrozek.

Zbrozek says the playground will accommodate students of all physical abilities and will help get students out of the classroom.

Features include an amphitheater, 100-meter track, athletic fields, playground equipment, and an art and music garden.

One of the many benefits of a natural playground is the connection to the outdoors, and the experiences children have using this creativity. The natural playground at (Colene) Hoose would offer all of these experiences,” said Dr. Zbrozek.

Superintendent Weikle says the playground could possibly be used by other McLean County schools as well.

On-site work will begin in the first part of August and should be completed by October, weather permitting.

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