Oak Bay firefighters boost Monterey outdoor classroom

Donation supports middle school's parent advisory council project

The parent advisory council at Monterey Middle School has a solid foundation for fundraising toward an outdoor classroom thanks to a donation from Oak Bay Fire Department.

Through a gala and other fundraising, Oak Bay Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation wrote a cheque for $10,000 toward the PAC project to build an amphitheatre.

“We’re vested in the children of Oak Bay,” said Greg Swan, charitable foundation executive director. “We wanted to kickstart fundraising for an outdoor classroom. … Hopefully the $10,000 can get them started towards fulfilling that vision.”

The idea for an outdoor space emerged after a storm knocked out play equipment several years ago.

Monterey had only been a middle school for a short time, and no one had really sussed out the changed needs of the student population – so they did a survey.

“They told us they wanted all kinds of things. They wanted playground equipment, they wanted more sports equipment, but they also wanted a place to sit,” said Kimberley Rogers, PAC treasurer.

The PAC funded sporting goods for recess use and picnic tables.

Last year, building on input from the students and staff at Monterey, they started developing a plan for an outdoor gathering space, starting with an amphitheatre. With the Oak Bay Firefighters’ charitable donation, handed over during an exciting school assembly, they have a solid foundation to start on.

“I think it’s really exciting for the kids, firefighters getting involved in a project that benefits the school,” Rogers said.

With other fundraisers and a planned voluntary contributions drive, they hope to garner $20,000 as a solid base to start work.

“We have a working group on the PAC that will take this now and go away and do some really concrete planing in conjunction with the school administration.”