Schools try flame retardant playgrounds

Schools try flame retardant playgrounds

In The News: Blue Valley Schools Want to Prevent Playground Vandalism
August 24th, 2011

image of playground artificial grass

OLATHE, KS — The Blue Valley School District is taking action to try to prevent playground vandalism. The idea comes after several playground fires were intentionally set earlier this summer. A safer surface is being installed on the school’s playground.

Blue Valley is experimenting at two playgrounds damaged by fire. They’re trying a synthetic surface that looks like grass and plays like grass, but also is fire retardant. The new playground at Liberty View Elementary will have foam padding that acts like a trampoline. The playground is supposed to be safe enough for a child to withstand a 12-foot fall without serious injuries.

The SYNLawn being installed at this play area damaged by an arsonist was checked out by the Overland Park Fire Department. It’s touted to be a lot less flammable than the rubber mulch that was set on fire in July.

“This is a pilot project it’s installed at two of our schools that had fire damage,” said Mike Slagle, Blue Valley Schools Asst. Superintendent. “Depending on how those pilot projects go we could expand it to other blue valley schools in the future.”

Children have been without a playground since Fourth of July weekend when a series of arsons destroyed play surfaces and left playground equipment damaged. SYNLawn artificial grass, is increasingly being considered by those searching for safer play surfaces that may be less susceptible to vandals.

The same synthetic grass is also being installed at new school playgrounds being rebuilt in tornado ravaged Joplin.

“This is a little bit different than yesteryear,” said Angela Grego, SYNLawn Distributor. “It’s amazing where we’ve come with technology just like anything else everything gets better.”

If Blue Valley determines the pilot project provides a safer play area for kids and also deters vandals, the district may consider installing it at all of its playgrounds.

The new playground here should be ready for kids to enjoy by August 29. Blue valley says it costs about $150,000 for the surface and new equipment, most of that covered by insurance from the July fire.

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