BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Every day for the last several weeks, Briarcliff Manor resident Dina Brantman’s daughter asked her when the new Todd School playground would open.
“I finally got to say, ‘today,’” Brantman said Monday. “It’s great and the kids are so happy that it’s out there now. It’s a great addition to the elementary school and the kids love it.”
Brantman, who sits on the Briarcliff Board of Education, said she was very pleased when voters approved the district’s proposal to spend $160,000 on construction of a new playground for the kindergarten through second-grade students at Todd by a vote of 139 to 39. The new construction replaced the aging playground that was removed earlier this year.
“It was 20-plus years old and it was well beyond its use for life,” Brantman said. “The equipment was old and the surface wasn’t appropriate and the whole playground wasn’t handicap accessible. The new equipment and surface underneath is going to be great for the kids and it’s going to be very special to them.”
Funding for the construction came out of unassigned fund balance, according to district officials. Construction crews previously removed all pea gravel and added a new rubberized fall zone area similar to that of the grades three to five playground. The proposed playground design was previously chosen by a committee of teachers and parents with a focus on early childhood education.
Kindergarten teacher Jayne Barruch, who has worked with the Briarcliff School District for nearly 30 years, praised the new playground.
"I've seen the development of the playgrounds since 1984 and it has progressed into this amazing, wonderful structure," Barruch said. "After the kids came in from recess, they could not stop talking about how much fun they had. They know it was special and that the community voted for it and it really brought everyone together."
Parent Nichole Culotta previously said she voted in favor of the proposal because she has three kids in the school district who are younger than 8 years old.
“They need something back there to play on,” Culotta said. “Hopefully it is going to keep them occupied and having fun.”