At their February 28 meeting, members of the Pipestone Area Schools (PAS) Board of Trustees approved the purchase of additional playground equipment, as well as fencing and electrical work for two new ball fields at the new elementary school.
The playground equipment will cost $60,698.06, the chain link fence for the ball diamond will cost $30,872 and the electrical work for the ball diamond will cost $19,320. Superintendent Kevin Enerson said the district will incur additional costs for site work. The school district will use the remaining funds from the elementary school construction project for the improvements.
The ball diamonds will replace the one that was located at Brown Elementary and the additional playground equipment was the result of students indicating that they wanted more equipment than is currently on the playground. Game.
“I started a focus group in September for several reasons and one of the questions was the things you would change about the school,” said elementary school principal Toni Baartman. “Pretty mostly, it was a bigger playing field.”
Baartman said she asked students in the focus group what they would like to see added to the playground and the most common responses were monkey bars and swings. She brought those ideas to Minnesota Wisconsin Playground, which sells playground equipment, and the company provided options and an equipment book. Baartman said she reviewed the options and selected some items that she thought students might like. The company then came up with two options based on their input which they presented to the student focus group and they chose the option that was ultimately approved by the school board, which Baartman says has the most monkey bars and the most swings.
“It was very student-focused and very student-focused,” Baartman said.
She said the focus groups included one student from each class in grades three through five each month, with different students participating each time. School board member Amy Nelson said she appreciates Baartman allowing students to have their say.
Enerson said the new playground equipment will be located west of the sidewalk across from where the existing playground equipment is located. The ball diamonds will be located on the lawn north of the elementary school. The fields will not have external fences, in order to allow multiple uses of the land, but they will have safety nets, a concession stand and scoreboards.
In other business, the school board approved a budget amendment that reduces the projected general fund deficit from $1,142,148 to $707,511 for the 2022 fiscal year, which ends June 30. , COVID-related funding and other factors are driving budget changes. PAS chief commercial officer Jacque Kennedy said new employee contracts were also a factor.