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Contractor Chosen for Playground Work at Central Elementary in Moundsville

Students at Central Elementary School in Moundsville can look forward to new outdoor play and learning facilities coming over the next few months.

The Marshall County Board of Education awarded the contract for improvements at its most recent meeting. Savage Construction submitted the low bid of $191,000; other purchases were made through co-op purchasing agreements, for a total bid package of $383,159.83.

The improvements made to the playground include an increase in the amount of shade from the sun, as well as a renovation of the concrete present in the play area and the addition of new playground equipment.

“They’re more than decorative elements for the little kids,” said facilities director Mike Price. “It’s wide open, where the site is, so there’s a lot of heat going on. We’re trying to provide shading for them so they’re not overheating. … It’s an upgrade to the site, getting rid of the old asphalt, putting a concrete pad in, and putting in a new piece of playground equipment, which we’re calling the ‘Beehive.'”

The most crucial addition, Price said, will be an outdoor classroom. Outdoor learning spaces became a bigger priority in recent years, and Price said about 40% of the overall project will be funded through the Elementary and Scondary School Emergency Relief Fund, part of the American Rescue Plan.

“The biggest aspect of it is the outdoor classroom, which the ESSERF funding has allowed us to do. It’s like a little amphitheatre where the kids can come out and sit on a ledge, with a teacher at the podium on the corner of the site,” he said.

“At every school, we’re going to try to provide an outdoor classroom, because of how COVID came after schools, and they’re learning toward doing things more outside than inside. The ESSERF funding, through the federal government, allows us to do things like this, and this is the first school we’re doing this sort of facility for.”

Price said he expects work on the project to begin before the end of the month, and to be complete within the fall semester.

“It may take two and a half to three months to complete, depending on weather and material timing,” he said. “I’m hoping before the holidays. We may be getting into November a little bit, but it will be before springtime play.”

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