Alta’s playground project discussed by school board

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Alta Elementary School playground is out of service due to a recent incident where a child was harmed, and plans continue for the playground’s removal and replacement. The topic was discussed at the Oct. 19th Alta-Aurelia School Board meeting.

The playground project involves removing the existing one and replacing it with a new one that is safer and more modern which is a joint project between the Alta-Aurelia School District and City of Alta. The playground is used by school children during and after school and by the community.

It is more than 20 years old, is made of wood and is starting to crack and splinter badly, Alta-Aurelia school superintendent William Walters said. An incident occurred recently where a child was injured. “We did close the playground, the wood portion of the playground, over at Alta,” Walters said. “It was necessary because a child got really bad splinters.”

For now, alternate plans have taken place for the students. “We’ve been using the city park. We’ve been trying to make it work,” Alta Elementary School Principal Stacy Mueller said.

“It has to come down,” Walters said of the playground. “Removing and replacing that playground is not something we want to do, it’s something we have to do for the safety of our children,” he stated last month.

Playground removal should not be a problem. Walters said people have offered to remove it for free. Ideally, he would like the playground removed before heavy snow and have the new equipment by spring. Board members voted unanimously to have the current playground removed.

The playground they hope to purchase has a 30-40 year longevity and is made of plastic and metal. “This is a $250,000-300,000 project,” Walters said. The $75,000 grant awarded by ABCreative may not come to fruition if the playground is not ordered by Nov. 13th, Warriors PTO President Kayla Wilson said. The order may not happen due to lack of funds. If the grant is awarded, the $75,000 will be discounted from the total cost of the project, chair of the Alta Park Board Heidi Reetz said.

“The question is, do we pay for it all at once or do we phase it in?” Walters asked. Wilson said, “It can’t be done in phases because we won’t get the grant.” She said if they lose the grant, “We are able to apply again but not certain what the chances are of receiving it.”

Fundraisers have occurred to increase enthusiasm and donations from the community, including a Fiesta fundraiser held in February, organized by the Warrior PTO, which brought in more than $17,000 for the playground project. A fundraiser was held this month at the schools and another school fundraiser will span from Dec. 12th to Jan. 6th with Scratch Cupcakery. Other fundraisers have occurred as well.

Mueller said parents want to help out but they don’t know where we stand. Board members discussed how to let the public know about funding and donation updates, but nothing was decided.

For questions about donating to the playground project, call Reetz at 712-229-0717.