Amidon-Bowen Elementary School will begin construction on a dramatic playground renovation that will enhance the learning experience for the children who attend the school and provide a recreational after hours play spot for the community. The existing playground equipment is tucked behind the school and unless you ventured there you would not know it existed. Also, the existing equipment is next to the academic wings of the school which means that curious minds inside the classroom are distracted by the outside play. The new playground will overcome these shortcomings.
The signature piece of playground equipment is designed for children 5 – 11 years old and will be highly visible from I Street. By moving the 5-11 playground out from behind the school, children can play without distracting other children inside the classrooms. It will also cut down on security issues that have been a constant problem for many years. The non-traditional looking equipment is specifically designed to develop motor skills and coordination while providing challenges to all abilities of children. The silver arches of the playground add a modern visual element to the I Street corridor – while the lemon, purple, and tangerine accents will add a splash of color and also mimic the colors inside the school. The newly visible playground will encourage more children to use the playground after school hours – creating a vibrant and lively space for the community. It will also serve as a recruiting tool to provide exterior appeal to match the stunning interior renovation.
Additionally, there will be a separate, new playground for 3 to 5 year old children. Again, the playground will be constructed away from the academic environment and will be set on the grassy area behind the gymnasium. It will be visible from G Street and also from I Street. The 3 to 5 year old playground will have a deck and post structure with several slides and some independent play pieces. A key element of the 3-5 playground will be an open area with artificial turf. By providing a play space with artificial surfaces, it will cut down on the mosquitoes and also dry quicker after a rain.
A brand new feature of the playground will be a “professional” style artificial turf playfield. The playfield will be suitable for soccer and football and contain a high grade artificial turf surface which will drain water quickly. About 30,000 pounds of tiny rubber balls will fill in between the blades of turf and reduce injuries. This state of the art artificial turf surface is similar to those used on professional football fields.
The playground is expected to be completed in December, 2012.
Martin R. Welles is President of the Amidon-Bowen PTA and has three children at Amidon-Bowen.