Hallinan to get major playground upgrade

by: Submitted Photo, An architectural rendering of the new Hallinan playground by Wildwood Playgrounds Northwest, of Portland.

When Hallinan Elementary's wooden playground went into place 20 years ago, it was the crown jewel of the city, and children flocked from miles around to dangle on its monkey bars and tumble down its slides.

These days, it's fallen into disrepair and requires regular maintainence, such as sealing and treating the wood each year.

But school officials hope to bring back that reputation by replacing it with a modern, state-of-the-art structure that's sure to make jaws drop.

And from the look of the architectural rendering, shown above, it's also enough to make every kid's recess dream come true.

The 6,840-foot steel-coated structure features 100 different 'activities' and can hold about 300 kids.

'A playground of that size is no small undertaking,' said Principal Steve Mauritz. 'We want to do it the right way that preserves the uniqueness and visual impact of what's already there and honor the existing playground.'

At first, Mauritz thought the school could update portions of the playground in several phases.

But that didn't happen. Instead, money raised through the school auction and multiple parent donations polished off the amount needed to pay for the entire project at once: $200,000.

Mauritz believes the Hallinan plan calls for one of the most elaborate playgrounds in the Pacific Northwest.

The school accepted design proposals from various firms before contracting with Wildwood Play-grounds Northwest of Portland, a company known for creating the Rose Garden structure in Washington Park.

'We wanted something that would emphasize upper and lower body and have a variety of applications,' Mauritz said. 'It's really going to be something.'

Construction will begin after the school year ends and is expected to be finished by mid-August with a dedication at the back-to-school barbeque.

While plans are being finalized, the school will host an informational meeting about the project at 1:30 p.m. March 15 at Hallinan.

'We want to get the word out on implications that go beyond the school,' Mauritz said.

The new playground will be open to the public from dawn to dusk, but the school is responsible for monitoring play only during regular school hours. Kids play at their own risk.

'I full anticipate when people understand what we're putting into this, they're going to start making those trips again,' Mauritz said.