COSTA MESA : Playground Pleases Donors, Children

Students and parents at Kaiser Primary Center had many reasons to dislike the school's old jungle gym, not the least of which were the burns that some children received while using the metal playground equipment on hot days.

So it was with joy this fall that the school dedicated a new jungle gym made of colorful plastics and filled with numerous "attractions" such as slides and ladders.

The $18,000 playground was planned and developed by parent volunteers with help from the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, which installed the equipment free.

Organizers acknowledge that the project would never have been completed if not for a $13,000 donation made anonymously to the school.

"The donation really got us started," said parent Maureen Taylor. "We don't even know who made the donation."

The jungle gym includes five separate slides as well as monkey bars and stairs for climbing. The equipment is accessible to handicapped people and is surrounded by safety mats covered in sand. The playground is encircled by a new tricycle trail.

Local parents had a fund-raiser that produced $3,000, said Taylor, who also praised volunteers who drew up architectural plans for the playground.

"The kids love it," Taylor said. "They used to get out of school and go home. Now, they like to stay and play on the equipment."

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