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New Playground Surfacing at Lynnville-Sully Elementary:  Students will benefit from safer surfacing - District will benefit from lower maintenance costs                    


SULLY IOWA - The first day of school at Lynnville-Sully Elementary School opens a new chapter for playground safety with the installation of DuroMat Extended Life™ playground safety tiles, a safer surface proven to dramatically reduce injuries at a number of schools across the state, Superintendent Duane Willhite said today.


Willhite credited the Iowa Playground Surfacing Program (IPSP), for helping the school design and purchase the surfacing, which has been shown to produce significant savings in medical expenses.


"The Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) partners with the National Safe Surfacing Initiative in Carlisle, Iowa, to offer the IPSP to schools statewide," said Jinny Tagatz, who administers the playground program at IASB.  The surfacing is a critical solution for protecting children from playground injuries as well as for providing universal access for students with disabilities and more outside play time for students while creating long-term savings on maintenance costs," Tagatz said.  "Parents and teachers often hear children say that recess is their favorite 'class' and I think recess is going to be even more popular with Lynnville-Sully's students when they get to play on this new playground surface."


The Iowa Playground Safety Program is the result of overwhelming demand, for playground safety tiles, created by the Iowa Safe Surfacing Initiative (ISSI).  The ISSI is a popular state-funded program that began as a research project in 2003 to test the efficacy of playground safety tiles.  Legislators and Governor Tom Vilsack have approved $500,000 each fiscal year since then to continue the testing while providing safer playground surfacing at dozens of elementary and pre-school playgrounds throughout Iowa. 


The National Program for Playground Safety, located at the University of Northern Iowa, has administered the grants provided by the state of Iowa, and conducted the ongoing study.  So far, results have proven positive for Iowa's children.  During the 2003-2004 school year, injury statistics from 11 playgrounds after DuroMat Extended Life™ playground tiles were installed resulted in fifty-eight fewer injuries in the targeted playgrounds.  Serious injuries, those requiring medical attention, were reduced by 55 percent. 


 "Every injury, even a minor one, requires at least 30 minutes of attention and at least $25 in staff time.  Yet, the real benefits from the 55-percent reduction in more-serious injuries is far more substantial," said Heather Olsen of the National Program for Playground Safety. "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."


The DuroMat Extended Life™ playground tiles for Lynnville-Sully 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.


The National Safe Surfacing Initiative is a wholly owned subsidiary of Welch Products.  Its mission is to partner with government agencies to improve playground safety for children, lower maintenance costs for taxpayers and minimize liability risks for school districts and other entities.  The NSSI provides a full portfolio of playground safety audits, inspections, designs, and certifications to bring playground surfacing into compliance with federal and state guidelines.  The organization also provides unique financing and fund-raising solutions that enable communities to invest in safer playground surfaces that meet stringent safety certifications.




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