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New playground opened for Nespelem Elementary School


Children at Nespelem Elementary School try out the new playground equipment after an opening ceremony Tuesday. - Jacob Wagner photo

Nespelem Elementary opened up a new playground on Tuesday when student Feather Fry cut the ceremonial ribbon and the children rushed to play with the colorful new equipment.

The playground, which includes equipment to climb on, spin on, swing on, slide down, and more, was built using $126,000 from the Healthy Use Fitness Grant, a state grant from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in Olympia. An additional $1,500 came out of the school's budget.

The project was brought to fruition through the efforts of Kitchen Assistant and Cook Deanna Kuehne, Principal Debra Pankey, Administration Business Manager Tanya Bunting, and Transportation and Maintenance Supervisor Jerry Novotney, who went through the grant-writing process and monitored the process of getting the playground built.

Construction began at the end of August by Jason Jackson and Junior Desautel, of Jackson Construction, who assembled the equipment purchased from GameTime, a company that specializes in playground equipment.

Nespelem School has 140 students, and they had been anxiously awaiting access to the equipment. The students were told Monday that Tuesday would be the day they could finally enjoy their new playground. The last playground upgrade was in 1999.

As soon as the ceremonial ribbon was cut, the students, bundled up in their winter coats, swarmed the playground, which had been decorated in celebratory balloons, and played to their hearts' delight.

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