The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

March 15, 2013

School officials seek better playgrounds

By Sarah Plummer
Register-Herald Reporter

— Raleigh County Schools expect significant improvements to their playgrounds over the next eight months as weather allows.

Jennifer Colvin, safety director for the school district, explained that these improvements come through recommendations by the Board of Risk and Insurance Management (BRIM).

BRIM inspected the district’s elementary schools in February 2011 and submitted 129 recommendations across all areas (including kitchen, fire safety and facility) to the county. Of those initial recommendations, 53 percent are complete.

BRIM again inspected the schools in September 2012 and delineated 84 recommendations in November to the school district, said Colvin.

Already 48 percent of those safety recommendations have been complete over the past five months and Colvin is confident to rest can be completed quickly.

Colvin said all 22 “critical” recommendations from BRIM were playground related.

In December, Raleigh County created a new county Playground Grant Application process and asked all 19 elementary schools to submit information about the funds they have raised independently for their playgrounds and the projects they hope to complete.

Of those, 10 have been selected for playground grants.

The 10 schools expected to see playground upgrades through the grant applications are Beckley, Bradley, Clear Fork District, Coal City, Crab Orchard, Crescent, Daniels, Fairdale, Shady Spring and Crab Orchard.

Colvin said the new Marsh Fork Elementary will also see playground installation as weather allows.

Once the above elementary playgrounds are addressed, at least 13 of the critical BRIM recommendations will be satisfied.

Of the 2012-13 BRIM elementary inspection, 49 percent of the district’s 84 recommendations pertained to playgrounds, 20 percent to kitchen areas, 19 percent to overall facility, 8 percent to fire safety, 3 percent to electrical systems and 1 percent to training.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com