Tony Lauer works on the Strawberry Park Elementary School playground Wednesday afternoon.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Tony Lauer works on the Strawberry Park Elementary School playground Wednesday afternoon.

Playground work nears completion

Organizing group planning fall grand opening ceremony

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— The finishing touches are being applied this week to the universal playgrounds at Strawberry Park and Soda Creek elementary schools.

Construction of the playgrounds began last summer, but inclement weather in November pushed their completion to this year. However, students at both schools were allowed to use the playgrounds during the 2008-09 school year.

The remaining work at both playgrounds is the installation of the rubber surface that will allow all children - including those in wheelchairs - to use the facilities.

This week, workers removed the mulch that served as the temporary surface of the new playground at Strawberry Park and applied the base coat of the permanent rubber surface, said Dave Reid, who is in charge of maintenance at the school. He said workers would apply the finish coat by the end of the weekend.

Workers have begun to apply the finish coat to the Soda Creek playground.

Base coats were applied in the fall at the schools, but cold weather delayed completion of the project.

Reid said the cold weather prevented the glue from bonding the rubber surface with the cement foundation below it. Because of that, the company subcontracted by Littleton-based Children's Playstructures & Recreation to apply the surface wouldn't provide a warranty for it, he said.

After the finish coats are applied, Reid said they must cure for several days before children can return to the playgrounds. He said some climbing features and swing sets that couldn't be constructed until after the surface was completed would be added at Strawberry Park.

Reid couldn't say when the schools would re-open the playgrounds, "but it's close," he said.

Julie Taulman, co-organizer of Let's All Play, the group that organized the projects and raised nearly $1 million for their construction, said she's glad to see the projects finally come to an end nearly two years after initial planning began.

Taulman said they were lucky to get the projects funded and built before the economy headed south.

The Let's All Play group will hold a grand opening ceremony after the new school year starts in August to honor everyone who made the projects possible. She said it was a testament to the community that everyone came out to help.

"That was in the spirit of the way Steamboat does things," she said. "It was great to be a part of."

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