Bexley News

Board backs community effort to build playground sites

Organizers hope to see more action, making the play spaces a reality for the 2014-15 year

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Montrose Elementary School's new playground project continues to take shape.

Following a formal nod of approval for the project's concept last month, board members met in special session April 8 and approved the idea of a community building effort, saving the project thousands of dollars.

Students at Montrose hope to have a new and improved playground, and possibly a walking track, in time for the 2014-15 school year after years of fundraising and planning.

Bexley school board members unanimously approved the "conceptual design" in March, reserving final approval for a later time when more details of the project would be available.

Although the district is not paying for the project, it reserves the right to approve all construction on its property. The district also will be responsible for all maintenance of the playground once it is complete, and is liable for safety when students play on the equipment.

The board discussed several items concerning the Montrose playground at the special board meeting April 8, including the need to work with consultants regarding Americans with Disabilities Act compliance issues.

"We are working to install the two playground systems," Bexley Superintendent Mike Johnson confirmed. "(And we are working) with professionals on the ADA issues."

Organizers were pleased that the board approved a community building effort for the playground project.

The move is "saving the project over $25,000 in installation costs," said the venture's coordinator, Meagan Matteson.

"The track was tabled pending further investigation on the impact on use of the softball field," she said. "The district is looking at other options for accessibility to the Terry Black Outdoor Learning Center."

Two structures were formally approved by the board: one for the Montrose side of the school, and another for the Remington side of the school which would be geared toward older children.

The walking track around the school, however, was not met with as open arms. Matteson and others are still waiting for approval of that part of the project as they seek further details from the city. Matteson has said the track would be paid for by the city, although she does not have a written proposal from the city ironed out yet.

The total cost of the playground project at Montrose is $124,250, which includes both climbing structures, but no track. So far, Matteson said the project's committee has raised $35,000, with about $90,000 left to go.

The project committee is scheduling other fundraising efforts to be announced soon. Money raised so far has come from the school's Parent Teacher Organization, along with small-scale fundraising on the part of students and parents.

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