School playground looking for momentum

Friday, October 12, 2018

As the Alta Warrior Parent-Teacher Organization looks to spruce up Alta’s school playground, they’ve found a partner willing to play ball.

“We would like to move forward with the new playground since it will take three to five years to fund it,” said Kayla Wilson, president of the PTO, to the Alta-Aurelia School Board Monday evening. The PTO was tasked with contemplating whether they would like to refurbish the existing playground or build a new one.

The school playground in Alta is down to four swings for 360 kids, according to Wilson. After some summer meetings and fine-tuning of ideas, the organization thinks that a new swing set would be an appropriate start to a successful revamp.

“We’re trying to raise excitement,” Wilson said.

A new, eight-swing set with an arch structure would cost at least $5,800, not including any cost of modifications required to accommodate handicap accessibility. A similar, six-swing option was also available for $4,600, depending on financial and space restrictions.

The current set-up, which was rated for 20 years of use, is already 27 years old.

Wilson said that while most of the structure hasn’t been completely lost yet, some kids with special needs are not able to get around on pea gravel, with some areas on the ground worn down quite a bit.

The new installation of swings would include removal of old posts in the ground as well.

Superintendent Lynn Evans volunteered to write the grant applications just to get the momentum started with rebuilding the playground, a major project that could cost upwards of $250,000 to replace what is already there.

Later that evening, the board approved the application for a $5,000 matching grant from the Buena Vista County Foundation to cover the costs of the new swing set. Parties involved are reportedly in talks with Kiwanis to apply for Nebraska-Iowa Kiwanis grants, too. Evans believed the grant application cycle for the BV County Foundation ended in November.

“This is supposed to be a joint project,” with the City of Alta, Wilson said, unsure of where the project stands with the parks board and the city. It is unclear what the City of Alta or the park board will contribute to the project, with another playground project for the city in consideration, as well.