If early use is any indication, then the new playground structure installed last week at Almond School in Los Altos is a big winner with the kids.
The bright blue-and-green structure, intended for the school's first and second graders, was absolutely clogged with kiddies during school lunch breaks, according to Cathy Walz, a school PTA member who was in charge of coordinating play structure construction efforts.
"It's swarmed - you can't even see the structure" during recess, she said.
Walz said the local PTA raised $42,000 for the project, which ended up costing just under $35,000. Parents earned the money through a school Scrip program and a "walk-about" fund-raiser. With the Scrip program, food stores sell gift certificates to the school at a discount, and the school sells the certificates to parents at face value, with the difference going to school projects. The annual Almond fund-raiser involves students taking pledges from residents and merchants, and walking up to 30 miles to raise the money.
This year's walk-about, scheduled for this Saturday, will feature a ribbon-cutting for the new playground.
The installation of the play structure during the week of Feb. 17-21 culminated a year of effort. The cost included intallation, ground cover with "Fibar," thinly shredded wood fiber, and a concrete border. The Los Altos School District dismantled the previous, 20-plus-year-old play structure, Walz said.
She said children had direct input into the choice of playground equipment. "I must have dragged my kids to 30 playgrounds," Walz said, to assist in coming up with an ideal choice. Walz has a kindergartener and third grader attending Almond.
The school board approved the PTA's playground proposal last November, and parents order the equipment in December.