New structures, estimated at $154k, benefit to broader community

by: SUBMITTED IMAGE - A rendering of the proposed new play structure at McBride Elementary School, which was presented to the St. Helens School District board at its Wednesday, Sept. 25, meeting. Courtesy Northwest Playground Inc. and Playworld Systems

The moldering play structures at McBride Elementary School may soon be replaced by newer equipment, if principal Karla Thompson has her way.

Thompson told the St. Helens School District board at its Wednesday, Sept. 25, meeting that the existing structures are “very unsafe” and “vastly deteriorating” and the school is seeking to replace them.

Tim Mosterdyke, who sits on the school district’s budget committee, submitted grant applications on behalf of the McBride Parent Teacher Organization this summer in an effort to raise money for the project, Thompson said, but no grant funds have been committed yet.

Mosterdyke and Thompson made a presentation to the board Wednesday in which they showed pictures of McBride’s rotting wooden play structure beams, as well as a three-dimensional rendering by Playworld Systems of the proposed new structures, which Mosterdyke said will be ADA-compliant and could include an 80-foot zipline for older children.

The projected project cost is $154,000, factoring in the removal of old play equipment, according to the presentation. Under the schedule presented to the board, the new equipment would be installed next summer, provided funds can be secured.

“We’re really trying to work to try to excite everybody and make everybody want this as much as we do, and see if we can’t make it happen in the next year or so,” Thompson said, outlining steps the school will take to solicit donations from parents and community members.

Mosterdyke said the school also plans to reach out to local clubs for support on the project.

Superintendent Mark Davalos said the new play equipment would have benefits beyond the school’s student population.

“This is a great opportunity, not just for McBride, but for the whole St. Helens community,” Davalos said. He suggested that if community support can help McBride obtain new play structures, it will signal that other projects across the school districts can be accomplished as well.

On a more immediate level, Thompson said, children from the McBride area use the school’s play structures as well outside of school hours.

“People come over on weekends, and kids play there and use it almost as a park,” said Thompson. She said that community benefit may appeal to foundations from which the school has applied for grants.

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