Published November 03, 2012
New L.P. Brown playground may open TuesdayCHELSEA KROTZER
It was a bittersweet Saturday for some of the 40 parent-volunteers at L.P. Brown Elementary School who were installing $56,000 worth of new playground equipment. The original, 40-year-old equipment was removed in August, and “Some of our L.P. Brown parents used to play on it when they were students here,” said Jeanette Killip, member of the school’s PTA. “It was hard to say goodbye.” With a slide and plenty of things to climb on, the students will be able to let their imaginations run wild on a structure that has no entrance or exit. The old metal slide and monkey bars have been replaced with equipment that provides access for all of the school’s 250 students, including those with developmental disabilities or those who are wheelchair-bound. It features a new see-saw with wheelchair access. “It’s for everyone of all abilities,” Killip said. “All our kids.” The school’s PTA spent the past 18 months raising the $56,000 necessary to build the playground as part of a legacy project through fundraisers, grants and a few student efforts. The children sold cookie dough and last week participated in a “Pennies for Playground” drive, bringing in an additional $230. “It’s important the kids have a stake in it and feel like they are a part of it,” Killip said. About 40 volunteers convened at the site Saturday, building the structure, pouring 130 cubic feet of concrete and spreading 136 cubic yards of engineered wood fibers, all under the supervision of the playground provider, Landscape Structures of Burien. Killip’s son Riley, 13, remembers the old equipment well and is impressed with the new playground. “It looks a whole lot cooler than the old one,” he said. “Although we did have fun sliding down the old medal slide really fast on our sweatshirts.” His 8-year-old brother, Cory, is a student at the elementary school and will be able to enjoy all the new equipment has to offer. Being the son of a PTA volunteer has its perks. “I get to play on it before anyone else anyway,” Riley said. Parent volunteer Cassi Deason said her daughter, 5-year-old Akasha, hasn’t stopped talking about the new playground since she saw it advertised on a poster at the school. “She has been excited to play on it ever since,” Deason said. While it was mostly the fathers doing the heavy lifting Saturday, Deason was hoping to muscle her way in for some of the more difficult work. “I’m kind of in the background doing the little tasks,” she said. The goal was to have the playground finished Saturday, ready to be checked out by the school district and the health department Monday. If all goes according to plan, children might be able to play on it by Tuesday. “We’ve had great community support,” Killip said.