GILMORE CITY – Gilmore City-Bradgate faculty and staff received playground supervision training and the community celebrated the installation of a safer playground last week through a partnership between the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Iowa Association of School Boards and the school district.
Iowa Senate President Jack Kibbie, an Emmetsburg Democrat, attended the dedication ceremony held on a chilly November afternoon following classes. Kibbie and state Rep. Dolores Mertz, an Ottosen Democrat, are among the legislators who have supported funding for a safer surfacing pilot project in past years that was a forerunner to the current partnership.
District Superintendent Ron Bollmeyer said the grant program paid for 1,100 square feet of the recycled rubber tiles that were part of the district’s ongoing playground safety upgrade, which included additional tiles and new equipment. While the play area surfacing and equipment conform to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, the project also provided an opportunity for students to learn about the benefits of recycling.
“It was a real honor to have Senator Kibbie to join us and members of the community to dedicate a playground that has already provided students with so much fun – and is bound to keep on giving to the district for years to come,” Bollmeyer said. “We appreciate the partnership and its results very much.”
The project is part of the Iowa Scrap Tire Market Development Program; School Playground Safe Surfacing Initiative funded by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and administered in cooperation with the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB). To receive the grant assistance, schools were required to hold an educational program showcasing the long-term benefits of environmental responsibility and recycling Iowa scrap tires.
“I’m proud of the Gilmore City-Bradgate faculty and staff members for their initiative to make their school grounds safer by applying for the state grant,” Kibbie said. “The fact that Gilmore City-Bradgate is one of only 22 schools statewide to receive funding this year is a testament to their hard work and resourcefulness. I’m also pleased that the kids have a chance to see firsthand how recycling can improve our daily lives.”
Welch Products, a Carlisle firm that manufactures playground safety tiles with recycled rubber and a patented production process, is the IASB’s designee responsible for the design layout and installation. Welch’s subsidiary, the National Safe Surfacing Initiative, helped ensure the playground surface is fully compliant under ADA requirements.
Company vice president Tim Mahoney said a 2006 study of 51 playgrounds installed during 2003 through 2005 through an Iowa legislative research grant showed a 75-percent reduction in more-serious playground injuries as a result safer rubber tile surfacing and additional safety training.
DNR Land Quality Bureau Chief Brian Tormey stated, “We are enthusiastic about the schools and our combined role in this recycling initiative focused on creating viable end-product markets for scrap tires while also demonstrating to our school children the true benefits of recycling.”
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