An integral part of each elementary school is its outdoor playground. Much of the equipment throughout the District is aged and while monthly inspections are performed by the Grounds crew at each site, making necessary repairs to the equipment, some pieces are becoming irreparable. Business Services has been working with a Risk Management firm to inspect all elementary school playgrounds. Once reports were available post playground inspections, it became clear that nearly every site needed equipment renewal.
During the Facility Master Plan modernization at both PHES and GES, playground equipment was replaced, providing playgrounds in keeping with current industry standards for playground equipment. As the other other elementary schools have yet to be modernized through the Facility Master Plan, Business Services (in connection with the Buildings and Grounds Department) determined that playground renewals should be given priority, and in December 2012, the Board of Trustees approved a district-wide playground equipment renewal project. In doing so, they also approved a District-wide Elementary Playground Standard, to ensure during the renewal process that all equipment purchased and installed is in keeping with current industry standards. The Board approved the Playground Standard document, and this will be a tool used in designing the playground renewal project at each site slated to receive funding for such equipment renewal.
The District always strives to ensure student safety on any school site and in a preventative measure, Business Services has spent the last year working on a District-wide playground renewal process, where outdated and irreparable equipment has been/will be removed, and replaced with new structures or components to create a safer playground, in keeping with the playground industry standards listed below:
· ASTM: The American Society for Testing and Materials, a globally recognized leader in the development of international voluntary consensus standards for safety and consumer confidence.
· CPSC: Consumer Product Safety Commission is responsible for protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction, and has created Playground Safety Guidelines and Standards.
At this time, new equipment has been ordered for five elementary school sites, and is currently being installed. This project wil be complete by August 2013, providing a new fun and safe playground for our students as they return to school.
Below is the approved standard, with all appendices separated for the user's convenience.
1. District-wide Elementary Playground Standard
2. Appendix A: Playground Inspection Checklists
3. Appendix B: Suggested Equipment
4. Appendix B: Example A - Sample Kindergarten Playground
5. Appendix B: Example B - Sample Climbing Structure
6. Appendix B: Example C - Sample Large Play Structure
7. Appendix B: Exanple D - Primary Playground Swings
8. Appendix B: Wood Fiber
9. Appendix C: Signage Requirements