I posted the comment (below in italics) on another blog yesterday. I agree it is wonderful that there is a brand-spanking new playscape at the TIS. And some of the comments back have provided me the PTO rationale for why the money was spent..... I still disagree.
I paraphrase the comments but....One reason was traffic from the recently relocated Rec Dept- the playscape was planned and initiated long before the move. The Rec Dept.'s location could not have been considered a factor for replacing the playscape. The Council had not even considered the permanent move of the Rec Dept. until Spring, 2011. The playscape had long been in the planning stages and even might have begun implementation at that time. And there is a walkway between the TIS fields and Parker AND a cross walk, even if traffic was to be a problem. There is not that much traffic there! It could be controlled.
Another response was that there is inadequate staffing to supervise the children on a site so removed from the main play area. So removed? It is about 100 yds. Where are the volunteers??? What about "crossing guards" from the peer groups in the older grades or volunteers?
And another was that there is not enough time for the children to get up to the site of the older playscape - It is only about 100 yards! How long can that take an 8 year old?
And finally one comment tells us that the Parker equipment is "old" and that the "good" stuff was moved from Parker to TIS. I beg to differ. That playscape was built by volunteers around the same time as the last addition to Parker, and that was in 1992. Ten years makes playground equipment old? There are still slides and ramps and other pieces of equipment at Parker that are usable. If nothing else, perhaps another group of kids could use the old stuff at their recess while others use the "better and brighter," new stuff. Not finding a use for it is a reflection of our disposable American society.
I am not convinced that building a whole new playscape was the best use of the volunteers time and donations.
Why did the PTO spend $60,000 on a TIS playscape? There is one with very similar components and already landscaped about 1000 yards from the school - at the Parker School. I don't understand the expense when another playscape was already so close and useable, was designed for 1-4th graders and has universally accessible equipment. It may need some refurbishing, and some of the pieces might not be useable, but it could have been a starting point. Using it would not have required the prep work or ALL the new components that the new site needed. Maybe 1/3 of the dollars collected would have sufficed to make a nice playground for the children if the project had made use of existing resources.
I have heard the explanation that it is too far away from the school. Isn't recess for exercise? Walking up the little hill would have been good cardio-vascular exercise for the little ones, teachers and volunteers!
Just think of the books or instruments or language labs that could have been made with that money.