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La Plata County receives $110,000 GOCO grant for school playground improvements

Great Outdoors Colorado Board has awarded a $110,000 grant to La Plata County, in partnership with Animas Valley Elementary, to make improvements to the school’s outdated playground. The project received one of five School Yard Initiative grants awarded.

All schoolyards must be designed, in part, by students. Funded schools are also eligible to become part of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Schools and Outdoor Learning Environment program, which provides field trips, family nature nights and outdoor education training for teachers.

With its SYI grant, Animas Valley Elementary will implement phase two of its playground project, which includes replacing outdated playground equipment and improving the yard’s layout. The nature-inspired play area will feature earth-toned equipment, including ADA-accessible swings, spin pods, a spider climbing net, roller table and sensory fixtures.

The new equipment will be placed in a way that creates a larger play zone and improves sight lines for teachers and staff. Aspen trees will be planted around the perimeter, and an ADA-accessible ramp will be installed.