Playground the first ‘treat’ of new Fisher Elementary

Playground the first ‘treat’ of new Fisher Elementary
Posted on 10/04/2016
Expect everything shiny and new at Fisher Elementary School next school year. And with excavators ripping up the grounds at Fisher and fencing protecting students from wayward walks into the construction site, that full year away from a brand-new school can seem like a long time. A brand-new playground this year helps soften the blow.

“It is a treat,” says Courtney Ross, principal. “There is less delayed gratification as they get to play on the new playground now. It is awesome and the kids love it.”

Thanks to the Fisher PTA helping raising $15,000 last spring, Fisher had the new playground—the old one was removed, along with the covered play shed, to make way for construction of the new school—up and running just hours to spare before the school year started this year.

While Fisher was able to repurpose some of the old pieces from its previous playground, for the most part the new equipment makes up a new way to play. For example, the old slide—likely an original piece—was out of safety code and was turned into a district surplus item and sold locally. Ross says they used information from Fisher students to help determine what pieces were most popular and then worked with a company in Everett to identify equipment most suitable. The new playground also switches from a gravel base to manufactured woodchips, both softer for the students and much easier for custodians to deal with inside the building.

As part of the new design, Ross says they tried to strike a combination of providing equipment with balance, swinging, spinning, jumping and climbing. “We made sure we had equipment that allowed the students to do all of that,” she says.

As work continues around the students, the bulk of the playground was up and running and signed off by a Whatcom County health inspector at 2:30 p.m. the day before school started. The perimeter bumper was added in late September and landscaping and a walking path will come at a later date. When finished, the new playground will have more square footage than the old, an effort by Fisher to use as much of the school property as possible.

Having the new playground up and running this year was especially important because not only was the old playground removed, but the covered play area was also torn down to make way for what will become the new gymnasium. And while the play equipment is often the domain of kindergarten through third grade more so than fourth and fifth graders, the lack of a hard surface for basketball and wall ball have sent more students to both the field and the playground.

“They make up the coolest games,” Ross says. “They have to get creative.”