Construction plans are underway for two Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant natural playgrounds that will be located at the new Lodi Primary School located at 1307 Sauk St.
The Lodi School Board approved the plans at its regular meeting Feb. 12. One playground will be geared toward 4K students, with the other toward students in kindergarten on through second grade.
To help bring the Lodi Parent Teacher Organization and Primary School staff’s vision for a natural playground to fruition, the district allotted $100,000 from its capital improvements fund, and an additional $35,000 from a playground referendum allowance.
The PTO and staff developed the long-range plans for the playgrounds, with some money coming from chocolate sale fundraisers held at all Lodi schools. Last school year, the Primary School/OSC decided to save their share of the chocolate sale funds. This school year, all Lodi school principals donated what they earned through the sales, according to PTO President Debbie Scherer.
At the Feb. 12 meeting, the board approved another $48,100 from its capital improvements fund to support the cost of the new playground’s design. It also approved a contract with Garret Perry, a landscape architect and designer with Design Studio etc. (a landscape company based out of Madison) to help with site completion and landscape work.
Perry presented his latest playground design concepts to the board during the meeting. The 4K and K-2 playgrounds will each be built in five budget phases, he said, with natural design elements added during each phase.
His 4K playground (to be fenced in and to the right of the primary school’s front) design included three shade trees, accessible swings, agility and climbing boulders, logs, musical play equipment and walkable paths.
The K-2 playground (back of the school) design included a baby bear-shaped plaza inside a larger bear, a sledding hill, an outdoor classroom, climbing boulders and logs, sustainable rubber paving, a snake-head plaza, a hillside climb, six shade trees and swings.
The first phase has a target expense of $52,000, according to Superintendent Charles Pursell. It will add a main play fort and a snake slide to the K2 playground, a drumlin slide to the 4K playground and sets aside $9,000 for design and administration.
The second phase’s target is $52,000-$100,800 and will add musical elements to each playground. The third phase’s goal is $100,800-$154,900 to add more rubber paving to the K-2 playground. The fourth phase’s aim is $154,900-$212,400 and will add climbing amenities and the fifth will add more boulders and logs with an objective of $212,400-$278,800.
While the first phase is partially covered through the PTO fundraising efforts, board members concluded that further costs will be the focus of more future PTO fundraisers. First phase construction efforts will hopefully conclude by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.