Westside Elementary to replace playground equipment

After multiple minor injuries, Westside Elementary School is replacing a section of playground equipment with something more accessible.

Westside Principal Glen Abshere said the decision came about when the school leadership team discussed multiple injuries on the monkey bars.

Students fall from monkey bars all the time. That is part of the fun and the challenge. But injuries occur most frequently on the section with spinning wheels, which can cause students to land sideways on their arms instead of straight down on their feet when they fall.

The playground committee put forward a proposal that includes more slides, rope toys for students to climb, a balance obstacle course and musical instruments.

“We want it big enough that we can get a grade level or two out there without it being too crowded,” Abshere said.

The exact design and cost are still out for bid, though the typical price range for the size of equipment they want is between $100,000 and $115,000.

“Playground equipment usually falls on the schools,” Abshere said, but the elementary school’s budget is currently allocated to things that have a more direct impact on students’ classroom success.

“There is only so much that you can do with a bond,” Abshere said. “There were a lot of needs across the district so we weren’t able to get everything in their that the district really needs.”

Instead the school is looking for donations.

Family Fun Night on May 3, fall cookie dough sales and a November craft fair will all go to fundraise for his project.

The playground is open to the community after hours and when school is out of session.

“Any time we add to our playground we try to keep the community in mind and not just our kids here at school,” Abshere said. “We want it to be something the community will be proud of, that they can come and utilize.”

In addition to those fundraising events, donations can be made directly to the school by calling 918-923-4201.

“This is a worthwhile project and we are hoping to raise the fund to get it built within the next two to three years,” Abshere said.