Scrap Tire Grant

District receives $27K tire grant for new ECH playground surface
Posted on 08/12/2019
R-I Maintenance Director Al Ursery and Kendra Gibson of All Inclusive Rec meet with a representative of Brockmiller Construction on the proposed playground site.

Poplar Bluff Schools has been awarded a $27,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to use 12,500 pounds of recycled tire material to surface a 1,700-square-foot portion of the playground at the new Early Childhood Center.

In addition to relocating several popular pieces of equipment from the current Mark Twain campus, the Scrap Tire Surface Grant will help reduce the cost of building the enclosed outdoor playground planned for the future preschool campus site shared with the Kindergarten Center off Kanell Boulevard. 

“I’m elated we were awarded this opportunity because now we’re gonna be able to offset the total cost, which is fantastic news,” exclaimed Dr. Amy Jackson, assistant superintendent of business. “I will continue to pursue any and all opportunities for funding sources as we move forward, not only with this facility, but others district-wide.”

Jackson applied for the funding, which is based on a 50-cent scrap tire fee collected on the sale of new tires that the Missouri General Assembly reapproved during the 2014 legislative session. Half of the revenue goes toward grants and education, while the rest pays for enforcement. 

The district previously received a similar grant to surface a portion of the Kindergarten Center playground. Besides helping to reduce the district’s environmental footprint by using 100 percent recycled rubber from Missouri, the interlocking tiles – SofTILE DuraSAFE – should reduce the number of scrapes and bruises for students at play, according to experts.

“This is an excellent use of this scrap material and is a safer alternative to most other playground cover material,” wrote Poplar Bluff Mayor Robert L. Smith in a letter of support from the city. 

The matted surface will adhere to a concrete base beneath at least half of the playground. All Inclusive Rec, a commercial equipment supplier, was awarded the bid to complete the project, which will include a jungle gym, an ADA compliant swing set and a shaded seating area. The Farmington-based company most recently contracted with district officials to design the enclosed playground at the Middle School. 

Ground was broken on the Early Childhood Center in October with plans to complete the 34,000-square-foot facility in the fall. Paid out of capital reserve funding, the project is part of phase two of the district’s long-range plan, with the final piece in development stages to open an alternative school at the subsequently vacated North Main Street campus. 

“The surface will provide accessibility for many years to come on our state-of-the-art playground to match our state-of-the-art Early Childhood Center,” said JoAnne Westbrook, ECH director. 

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Cutline: R-I Maintenance Director Al Ursery (center) and Kendra Gibson of All Inclusive Rec meet with a representative of Brockmiller Construction on the proposed playground site between the Early Childhood and Kindergarten Center.

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