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Colesburg Elementary hosts playground surfacing dedication with Iowa Legislators


COLESBURG, IOWA - Students at Edgewood-Colesburg elementary school are playing safer today thanks to a new surface covering the ground around the playground areas dedicated Tuesday, October 4 in a ceremony which included comments from state Sen. Tom Hancock and state Rep. Steve Lukan.


Safer surfacing and safety training provided by a statewide demonstration project that includes Edgewood Colesburg Elementary School have resulted in a dramatic decrease in playground injuries and a significant savings in medical expenses, according to preliminary study results announced Tuesday Sen. Hancock, D-Epworth.


The study, conducted by the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS), headquartered at the University of Northern Iowa, reviewed data from 11 playgrounds installed in late 2003 and early 2004 through the Iowa Safe Surfacing Initiative.  The Colesburg playground, which was approved for construction in 2004, is one of 16 surfaces to be installed during the current fiscal year.  An additional 19 playgrounds were approved for construction in 2005.  Injury statistics will be gathered from those playgrounds under the ongoing study.


The NPPS gathered injury data for each playground in the project before and after the new surfacing was installed and additional safety measures were taken.  Fifty-eight fewer injuries were reported.


 "Every injury, even a minor one, requires 30 minutes of attention at least $25 in staff time.  Yet, the real benefits from the 55-percent reduction in more-serious injuries is far more substantial," Hancock said. "Eleven children were injured seriously enough on these playgrounds in the year before the initiative that they needed hospital treatment.  Only five such incidents happened after the safer surfacing was installed and training took place. Using the average of $6,000 per visit, medical expenses were reduced $36,000 in one year and a great deal of pain and grief was prevented for kids and parents."


He added, "The initial findings from the project's first playgrounds are very impressive.  We expected nothing less than that when the Legislature approved this project during the 2003 session.  I'm looking forward to seeing safety data about Edgewood Colesburg's playground and other playgrounds in this group next year because we have every reason to believe the results will be just as positive."


Rep. Steve Lukan (R-New Vienna) spoke about the importance of training at the schools.  "The national program for playground safety is headquartered right here in our state, at the University of Northern Iowa," he said.  "So, Iowa really is a national leader in playground safety."


The goal of the Iowa Safe Surfacing Initiative (ISSI) is to show that Iowa-based technology can economically convert waste tires into useful products.  The NPPS staff has administered the initiative since its creation on July 1, 2003.  The General Assembly and Gov. Tom Vilsack have funded the project at $500,000 each year of the past three years.  The ISSI funded the surface at one of the playgrounds at the school, and the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) provided interest-free financing for the remaining resurfaced playgrounds.


The DuroMat Extended Life™ playground tiles for Edgewood-Colesburg and other sites around the state are made with a patented cold cure process utilizing a special blend of rubber and polymers developed and manufactured by Welch Products of Carlisle Iowa.



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