Cloquet School Board approves bid for new Washington playgroundThe din outside Washington Elementary will likely hit an unprecedented high this fall when students are given free reign over a new and improved playground.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
The din outside Washington Elementary will likely hit an unprecedented high this fall when students are given free reign over a new and improved playground.
On Monday, Cloquet School Board members unanimously awarded a $51,339 contract to National Playground Compliance Group for installing new play structures and creating a safer play environment.
“We’re going to move forward and get it done,” said Gene Salmi, Cloquet School District Buildings and Grounds director.
Bids for the contract were provided by National of Carlisle, Iowa, and Midwest Playscapes of Chaska, Minn. Midwest’s estimate was $61,148. Both companies were reviewed for completeness and accuracy and the low bid was recommended to the board.
Work will begin as soon as possible and includes includes expanding fall protection areas around play structures, leveling the areas to eliminate tripping, and making needed repairs to any remaining equipment. For insurance and safety reasons, no structures will have a fall height of greater than seven feet. The playground will also be ADA compliant. The plan also includes a climbing structure with a slide, “socialization areas” and some “play events” such as ladders, rock climbing walls and stepping pads.
Playground funds will largely be drawn from the Cloquet School District capital budget. Washington’s Parents-In-Education group has raised $20,000 toward the project and because Salmi and several school board members attended a workshop last year on playground safety, National is providing a $15,000 discount.
Since the Washington playground received a poor rating last fall, a slide has been removed, but the rest of the area remains open. No serious injuries occurred during the last school year, according to Washington Elementary Principal Randy Thudin.