Newport Elementary School has unveiled the results of a months-long renovation of its beachfront playground priced at nearly $549,000.
The joint project between the city of Newport Beach and the Newport-Mesa Unified School District replaced the school’s sand-smothered field and added a 21-inch-tall bordering block wall to make it more resistant to the elements.
“The addition of the wall along the grass lawn protects the field from blowing sand that used to accumulate,” said Dave Webb, the city’s public works director.
The city uses the field behind the campus at 1327 W. Balboa Blvd. as a municipal park during non-school hours and in the summer.
Newport Elementary Principal Amanda Estrada said the main work was making the field level. Sand-resistant sod replaced piles of sand that had built up over time and obstructed grass growth.
The project also extended the boardwalk next to the field by six feet of concrete.
The refurbishing began in April, with most of the work taking place over the summer. It was completed last month.
“The reaction from the community has been very positive,” Estrada said. “Being able to have such a beautiful space for our kids — it’s a unique feature that we have.”
The Newport-Mesa board approved the district’s one-time $250,000 contribution in February. It originally was meant to cover half the price, but additional costs drove the city’s bill higher. In March, the new total cost was expected to be $613,000, though it came in at $548,728.
The city’s contribution came from landscaping beach-encroachment fees paid by waterfront property owners.
Webb said some of the extra costs were for adjustments to the block wall, additional traffic control, signs and a ribbon-cutting ceremony held last month.
“As soon as we cut the ribbon, the kids just started flying across the fields,” said Newport-Mesa trustee Karen Yelsey. “We are so pleased with the outcome. It took awhile for us to complete, but it’s just a really great example of how well the school district and the city work together to get things done for our kids.”