After an accident involving a student who required surgery because of a sliver he received, White District Schools formed a committee to explore the future of the Kidsí Space wooden playground structure at Shoreline Elementary School.
WHITEHALL Ė A committee has been formed to explore the future of the Kidsí Space wooden playground structure at Shoreline Elementary School.
Whitehall District Schools Superintendent Jerry McDowell, at the school boardís Dec. 17 meeting, gave an update on the progress made in addressing the issues of deteriorating wooden boards which have been producing splinters and injuring children playing on the structure. During school hours, students in the K-2 school use the playground, and Kidsí Space is open to the public during non-school hours.
The issue about the 15,000 square foot playgroundís deteriorating condition was recently brought to the attention of the districtís administration and school board.
A mother of a seven-year-old student who required surgery to remove a wooden sliver from the playground, spoke to the school board at its Nov. 17 meeting. Barb Gimenes provided photos showing her sonís injury and the condition of the board on which he was injured. Her son had a three-quarter inch sliver removed from the palm of his hand. She said her son is one of many children who have been injured by wooden slivers while playing on Kidsí Space.
Gimenes asked the district to make the playground safe for children.
McDowell, who has a board from the playground which has had portions power washed, sanded and sprayed with a sealer in an attempt to smooth the surfaces with little success, said the committee will be exploring whether to rebuild, replace or repair the playground structure with a quick fix.
The 18-year-old wooden playground was built by community volunteers, and was paid for through fundraising efforts which collected over $60,000. The playground was built in five days, and was dedicated on Sept. 18, 1994. The districtís maintenance department has maintained the playground over the years, with some volunteer assistance in the first years after it was built.
McDowell said research was conducted on the Kidsí Space, and playgrounds in the area to help determine whether to repair or replace Kidsí Space. and the current playground was inspected by contractors.
The districtís maintenance department has been exploring an option of applying a protective coating on the exposed wooden surfaces on the structure.
An eight-member committee was formed, including Gimenes, McDowell and Shoreline Principal Ron Bailey.
The committee met Nov. 30, and shared information with the Shoreline Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at its meeting Dec. 3.
McDowell said the committee will soon schedule a community forum to share information, evaluate options, and discuss fundraising options and opportunities for community partnerships.