New Albany will help the New Albany-Plain Local School District foot the bill for two pavilions for the district campus' playground for grades 1 to 8.

New Albany City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 18, voted 5-0 to approve a resolution authorizing the contribution of $210,000 toward the purchase and installation of two recreational pavilions.

Council members Colleen Briscoe and Chip Fellows were absent.

The pavilions will be behind the Charleen & Charles Hinson Amphitheater slated to be built adjacent to the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, 100 W. Dublin-Granville Road.

The district is planning to spend about $1.1 million to upgrade parts of the playground that are more than 20 years old, said Superintendent Michael Sawyers. The project will begin the day after school ends and conclude the day before school starts, he said.

The playground is used by families after school and has become the central playground for New Albany, Sawyers said. It is a natural extension for families coming to visit the nearby Rose Run Park, which doesn’t have a great deal of play equipment, he said.

Rose Run Park is part of the Rose Run stream corridor that runs mostly parallel to Dublin-Granville Road through New Albany, and it previously had been accessible only by leisure trails.

The city’s recent revitalization efforts for the Rose Run area include construction of a 34-foot bridge and promenade that connects the district campus on the north side of Dublin-Granville to the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Market Square to the south. The park's amenities include a natural play area for children.

Sawyers said the pavilions, which will be 45 feet wide, will offer shaded space for students during recess, something he often gets asked about. The pavilions also will offer outdoor learning space for students, he said.

“Learning does not occur just within the classroom walls,” he said.

The two pavilions are about $500,000, Sawyers said. A $40,000 American Electric Power grant the city was awarded will go to the school district for this cost, as will the $210,000 from the city, he said. The district will pay the remaining $250,000, he said.

City spokesman Scott McAfee said the city committed to appropriating any grant dollars received up to $40,000 for the purpose of a community playground on the school learning campus. AEP told the city it was awarded the grant; the funding is expected to be awarded at a future council meeting.

Even more than before, with Rose Run Park and the future amphitheater, the city center and the school district campus are interconnected, said school board President John McClelland.

“The community surrounds the school,” he said.

The pavilions will have ceiling fans and power outlets, enabling them to serve as a comfortable out-of-classroom experience for children, McClelland said.

Although the playground is closed to the public during school hours for security reasons, the gates to the playground are open each day after 4 p.m. and during the weekend and summer break, McClelland said.

“For the community, it just provides an additional amenity for families,” he said.

Council member Kasey Kist suggested the city post signs to help residents and visitors know they can access the playground as part of community amenities.

Adrienne Joly, director of administrative services for New Albany, said the city has enough amenities now that signage could be helpful for people.

Council member Marlene Brisk agreed with Kist that people should know the playground is open to the community.

“We want our residents to feel comfortable going in there and using it,” she said.

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