Parents of some Marion Elementary School students probably remember romping on the once shiny school playground “back in the day.”
However, after about a quarter-century of use, time and the elements have taken their toll, prompting MES and MES Parent Advisory Council (PAC) to begin working toward a replacement.
Principal Justin Wasmuth said the effort is still in its preliminary stages, but estimated it would take approximately $50,000 to $70,000 to accomplish everything they want to do in about two to four years.
“We’re looking at replacing the big playground [structure],” Wasmuth said. “It’s about 25 years old I think, and it’s been a great piece for students, but we are starting to see some deterioration and some things that could be hazardous to the kids in the future.”
Wasmuth clarified the condition of playground equipment was not a danger to students in its current state.
“We thought ‘better safe than sorry’,” he said. “Last summer we fixed a bridge [on the big playground] that had some erosion and rust on it.”
It has also faded over the years and there are areas with chipped paint, he said.
School officials were prompted to seek an entirely new updated playground when they discovered replacement parts were no longer available for the big playground, he said.
“It’s something we need to change because of age and functionality,” he said. “Right now, we are looking at one bigger all connected piece, or maybe a couple smaller pieces for more variety.”
The group also wants to replace basketball goals and a blacktop court. Sandblasting and repainting of a smaller blue playground apparatus is under consideration, too. However, Wasmuth said replacing the big playground is the highest priority.
As a way to kick off fundraising, MES PAC will sponsor a parent-child dance from 7 to 8:30 p.m. April 15 for K-5 students.
Songs with associated group dances like “Chicken Dance” will be played. Refreshments will be provided. Semi-formal attire is optional.
Cost is $5 per student-parent pair. Each additional dancer will be $3. There will be childcare available for younger siblings.
Wasmuth said MES PAC also is creating a specific committee for the project.
“We’re looking for anyone who is eager and willing to help generate ideas for the playground,” he said.
More information is available by contacting Wasmuth at (620) 382-3771.