BRINNON — Brinnon School District students had something new to look forward to when they came back to school earlier this month: an upgraded playground.
The Brinnon School District upgraded the play area after receiving a $73,000 state grant.
The upgrades were completed during the summer and included four new play structures, new asphalt and engineered wood-chip fill, Superintendent Trish Beathard said.
The funds came from a Healthy Kids-Healthy Schools grant through the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), which was provided $3.25 million from the state capital budget for 2019-21 to support the Healthiest Next Generation Initiative.
The funds are available for schools for either physical education/activity or nutrition.
They are awarded on a competitive application basis and no school can receive more than $200,000, OSPI’s website said.
Beathard said the district applied in early September 2018 and learned it was successful in late fall.
The grant didn’t cover the full amount of the upgrades.
Beathard said the district covered between $3,000 and $5,000 in cost overruns because school board members wanted extra wood-chip fill to improve safety.
“We can’t complain paying a few thousand for this or that,” Beathard said. “We erred on the side of caution to make sure our fill was deep.”
The construction started in June and was finished with enough time for summer school students to utilize it.
Now, the current students have been able to enjoy it four weeks into the school year.
“They love it,” Beathard said. “You can just hear kind of the shrieks of joy inside the building when they’re playing. They thoroughly enjoy it.”
“I thought they’d like some pieces better than others, and they just really enjoyed all of it.”
School Board President Bill Barnet helped with much of the planning for the equipment selection and placement.
“[Barnet] helped get pricing, helped us make selection on the playground equipment,” Beathard said. “That’s hard because you want to find equipment that satisfies the requirements of your insurance company and it’s safe.
“I really appreciated [the help].”
The pea gravel that the wood chips replaced was removed with the help of volunteer community members, some of whom took the gravel home for their yards and driveways, Beathard said.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].