The fund-raising done, Grout School's deteriorating old play structures are being replaced

COURTESY OF KRISTIN KJOME - On Friday, May 11, Portland Public Schools demolished the aging former play structure at Grout Elementary School on Holgate Boulevard - to make way for new and improved play equipment, which should be installed this summer. Portland Public Schools demolished Grout Elementary School's aging wooden play structure on Friday, May 11. It was taken down as the first step to make way for a long-planned new structure, to update the play area with "safer and more engaging equipment". The school is on S.E. Holgate Boulevard in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood.

Grout PTA, a nonprofit that supports the school, has been fundraising for this project since the spring of 2016. With the Grout PTA annual auction in March, the organization was able to reach its fundraising goal of $60,000 – the estimated amount intended to cover preparation of the site, the purchase of equipment, and its installation.

Fundraising by the PTA included support from the community through two auctions, and rallying students around the project through a spare change collection that raised $1,300. The school also received significant support for the project through a $15,000 promise of funding from PPS Head Start, which has two preschool classes in the Grout School building.

"This new playground will be age-appropriate for 3 to 11 year olds, with inclusive pieces added to the design," assured Principal Annie Tabshy.

Portland Public Schools was able to pay for demolition, if work on the project could start before the end of its fiscal year, which it did. Grout PTA President, Susan Ledgerwood, says she is hopeful that a new structure will be installed this summer, before the start of the next school year in late August.

The new equipment will stand alongside a remaining structure that was built in 1999.

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