Playground bill in tens of thousands (The Prince George Citizen, 26 Nov 2010, Page 3)

Mark Nielsen Citizen staff mnielsen@pgcitizen.ca
The Prince George Citizen
26 Nov 2010

School district administration will look at the possibility of doing the work “in-house” after learning the cost of moving playgrounds from two closed schools to Heather Park elementary school will add up to $38,000 in total if carried out by the company that installed them.

Funding for playgrounds is typically raised by a school’s parent advisory council but a new playground was installed over the summer at Heather Park at the school district’s cost of $38,000 as part of converting it into an elementary school.

But school board chair Lyn Hall said during Tuesday night’s regular public meeting that the school district still needs to do what it can to get another playground onto the Heather Park site within “budgetary limits.”

The school district received quotes of $21,000 and $17,000 respectively to move playgrounds from the Austin Road and Springwood sites. As a policy, the school district does not move or tear down playground equipment at a closed school for at least one year.

“I just don’t understand that, I cannot comprehend that kind of cost…I think that if we can do something in-house that is reasonable, we should pursue it,” Hall said.

Trustee Lois Boone indicated the school district has some obligation to add another playground to Heather Park.

“Parents (at Austin Road and Springwood) did raise the money for those playgrounds at one point in time,” she said. “They put them in there and it was our decision to close those schools.”

The quotes came from Henderson Recreation Equipment Ltd., based in Simcoe, Ontario, which specializes in a removable form of playground purchased in bulk in 2006 when schools were required to buy new apparatus to meet updated safety standards.

Trustee Roxanne Ricard noted $38,000 would cover the cost of buying an additional playground for Heather Park.

The playground at Austin Road cost $34,600 to buy and install while no figure was provided for Springwood.

Site preparation and the transfer of pea gravel pose a large portion of the moving cost, it was suggested.

Secretary-treasurer Brian Mix said he would take the question back to staff for ideas.