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A playground renovation done at the Logan-Rogersville Primary School this summer, which cost the district just over $44,000, has decreased the number of recess injuries by about half.
Shawn Randles, assistant superintendent, said the project included replacing pea gravel with recycled rubber mulch, extending a sidewalk and connecting it to a covered playground area, installing new basketball goals, adding a large hard surface to replace the concrete pad under the goals, adding a retaining wall around the entire playground, and adding a slope and drains to allow students to play outside shortly after rainfall.
Randles said there were several reasons behind the renovation project, including the possibility for children to play after it rains. He added the main reason was safety. “The reasons for the renovation were to increase the amount of hard surface for students and replace the pea gravel with recycled rubber mulch,” he said.
“The purpose of the surface is to provide an adequate fall height for the particular piece of playground apparatus installed. The rubber mulch is the safest material for the fall heights needed at the Primary.”
Darla Gregory, school nurse at the primary school, said she has been keeping track of the numbers for the last couple of years. “Dr. Randles asked me to keep track of the number of injuries and differentiate which ones were recess-related injuries,” she said. Gregory’s data showed that in the first quarter of 2011 there were 28 scrapes, related mostly to the pea gravel. Then in the first quarter of 2012, there were 17 scrapes, one of which was from the barrier wall. According to her statistics, apparatus injuries were down as well, from 11 to 5.
Randles said it is important to track the number of injuries not only for the Primary school, but for future projects as well. “The reduction in injuries statistics is important as we plan for a similar renovation at the Elementary and eventually the Upper (Elementary),” he said. “We want to be sure the improvements are keeping students safe. ”Randles added this is not the only recent renovation the Primary school has had to its playground as the district installed rubber tile and a piece of apparatus on the pre-kindergarten playground at the Primary two years ago.