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Facilities Update

El Paso ISD builds 21 playgrounds

  • SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL PLAY—The project of installing 21 new playgrounds at 19 El Paso ISD schools is part of the Texas district’s 2020 Strategic Plan to support students in becoming socially and emotionally intelligent individuals. (Pictured: Cooley Elementary School).
  • SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL PLAY—The project of installing 21 new playgrounds at 19 El Paso ISD schools is part of the Texas district’s 2020 Strategic Plan to support students in becoming socially and emotionally intelligent individuals. (Pictured: Western Hills Elementary).

Children from 19 El Paso ISD schools now engage in social-emotional activities at nearly two dozen new playgrounds, thanks in part to districtwide communication.

CHALLENGE: In 2016, El Paso ISD wanted to transform its most deteriorated playgrounds into fun, safe environments. “We knew that playtime was an excellent opportunity for our students to interact with one another and to develop social skills,” says Margaux Nina Dalbin, the district’s coordinator of bond outreach.

Principals, project managers, facilities personnel and manufacturer representatives came together to design playgrounds for certain age groups and, in some cases, students with special needs.

SOLUTION: Department officials installed new playgrounds at 17 schools without having to modify the original recess area, while sites at two campuses required updates to accommodate the new equipment. Two schools received two playgrounds.

Tight ropes, bridges and panel mazes promote strategic thinking. Some sites feature musical equipment, such as drums and xylophones, so students can be creative. Metal shelters minimize sun exposure.

“The benefits have been tremendous for our students,” says Dalbin. “And our schools were excited to receive their playgrounds.”

COMPLETION: March 2018

BUDGET: $3.2 million

PROJECT TEAM: Project manager: El Paso ISD Department of Facilities and Construction; vendors: PlayWell Group Inc. (Dallas) and ExerPlay Inc. (Cedar Crest, NM)