New playground bark falls into place

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Trenton Kozel

Ralph Dunlap Elementary recently replaced their sand playground with woodchips

Over winter break, a new FiBar product was placed under all of the Orcutt Union School District elementary school play structures. The bark replaced sand, which no longer met the California code for landing and falling areas. To find out more about this switch, we contacted Patterson Elementary principal Miss Julie Kozel.

Using money from the recently passed Measure G grant, the school district’s goal was to update their schools and protect their students. The issue with the sand that was previously at the school was that when it compacted due to rain or cold, it became a hard surface which endangered falling students.

While looking to replace the possibly dangerous surface the district had two main options: wood chips or rubber. They eventually landed on wood chips which are easier to maintain and cost-effective.

Other schools in the area that were included in the project would be Ralph Dunlap and Pine Grove Elementaries. One school that wasn’t included however, was our own Orcutt Academy.

The play structure here at OA isn’t used,and is often questioned why it’s still even here. The main argument is that it’s “public” property, but so are all public school playgrounds. It would be very expensive to remove, but it just seems like wasted space at this point.

School staff did not make these decisions, But the District Maintenance Dpt. It’s only been three weeks since school has been back in session, and we shall see how it plays out.