A bit behind schedule, the upgraded playground at Pierce Field reopened for "business" Friday, Aug. 16.

A bit behind schedule, the upgraded playground at Pierce Field reopened for "business" Friday, Aug. 16.

Stevenson Elementary School students had their first chance to test out the playground during recess Monday, Aug. 19, Parks and Recreation Director Sean Robey said.

A safer poured-in-place rubber surface and accessible equipment were installed over the summer. The playground also includes more accessible routes for youngsters in wheelchairs.

The playground wasn't quite ready when school opened Aug. 14, and Stevenson kept its students on school property for recess during the first three days of school, Robey said.

A "perfect storm" of factors put the Pierce Field improvement project slightly behind schedule, he said, although most of the work should be completed in time for the Bobcat Boosters Ox Roast, set Sept. 5-7.

"The rainy weather was a factor, plus the contractor had a number of complications with subcontractors, such as health issues and material availability," Robey said.

"It was a very tight schedule" to get the project done before school reopened, "and it required that everything went perfectly," he said.

The new pit for the Boosters is complete and the sidewalk around the pit was poured Aug. 19, Robey said.

Later this month, the Boosters will hold a "pre-burn" to test out the pit, he said. The test should also help dry out remaining moisture around the pit.

"We still need to install the lid that will keep the pit covered during the times there is no Ox Roast going on," Robey said.

It already was planned that the Boosters would use the old kitchen building for this year's festival, he said. The building will be demolished after the Ox Roast.

Preliminary work has begun on the new multipurpose building that will include a new kitchen, Robey said.

The installation of new lights for the ball field will not be completed until the new building is constructed, he said. The control system for the lights will be kept in the new building.

Some fencing will block off certain areas during the festival, but most of the park will be available for Ox Roast activities, games and rides, Robey said.

The parks advisory board was scheduled to present an informal site plan review for planned improvements to Wyman Woods.

A more-detailed plan with design drawings is expected to be presented at the September planning commission meeting, Robey said.