The wait is over
Back in August, Ditto Elementary students’ excitement for the new school year was tempered by a significant concern.
Their playgrounds had been closed and were about to be demolished. The students knew that new playgrounds would be built to replace the old, but they weren’t sure the new ones would be worth the wait.
“Why does there have to be a new playground?” a first grader asked Arlington ISD superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos when he visited Ditto on the first day of school.
Cavazos explained that the new playgrounds would be better than their old ones, with shade structures and soft surfaces.
“No more rocks?!” one student asked about the pea gravel.
No more rocks.
“Whoopee!” one shouted.
After what surely seemed like a long wait for the students, the new playgrounds at Ditto finally opened last week. And the rocks are indeed gone.
The wait was worth it.
“Our Ditto Rangers and families are so very excited for the opening of our new playground,” Ditto principal Bel Williams said. “Our pre-K students were the first to enjoy all the fun!”
The new playgrounds at Ditto are part of the 2019 Bond program. Every elementary school is getting two – one for pre-K through first grade, and the other for second through sixth grade. The playgrounds include shade structures, accessible play equipment and rubber surfacing. While the equipment is standard from campus to campus, each school got to make their own color selections.
The playgrounds are getting installed at all 53 Arlington ISD elementary schools in three phases. The first phase, with 17 schools, is already complete. Ditto is the third school in phase two to open the new playgrounds. Crow Leadership Academy was the first, and Wimbish World Language Academy was the second.
Work is also underway at several other schools in phase two, with more beginning soon.
- Webb Elementary’s new playgrounds are nearly complete and will open when the new building opens at the beginning of 2023.
- The concrete, shade structures and equipment are in at the new Jones Academy playgrounds. They’ll be ready soon.
- The concrete is in at Fitzgerald Elementary’s new playgrounds, and the equipment installation should be done soon.
- At Farrell Elementary, demolition of the old playground is complete, and the concrete has been poured. The new playground equipment is on site and will be installed soon.
- Work is just beginning at Burgin Elementary, and the demolition is complete. The playground equipment is on site and ready for install once the concrete is done.
- At Morton Elementary, work on the new playgrounds is just getting started.
Work will begin throughout the fall at most of the other phase two schools as well: Dunn, Hill, Blanton, Rankin and Patrick elementary schools. Kooken Education Center and Butler and Sherrod elementary schools will begin in January. All the new phase two playgrounds are scheduled to be completed by early 2023.
Following phase two, construction will start on the third and final phase. Phase three includes Adams, Amos, Atherton, Berry, Foster, Goodman, Hale, Johns, Key, Little, McNutt, Miller, Peach, Pope, Short, South Davis, Speer, Swift and Thornton.