Kathryn Coon photosRenovation of the school building isn\u2019t the only aspect of the Miller-Driscoll Building Project. The school\u2019s two playgrounds are, too. As of March, the budget for the entire Miller-Driscoll School renovation project is expected to come in around $42.4 million, $295,000 of which was budgeted for playgrounds. The playground for kindergarten through second grade was relocated from the front of the school to the rear of the building for greater security, and is now accessible from the cafeteria. Students have been playing on it for some time, Miller-Driscoll Building Committee member Gretchen Jeane\u00ads told The Bulletin. Jeanes led a subcommittee \u2014 comprised of herself, fellow building committee member Mandi Schmauch, committee advisers Patti Temple and Bernadette Hess, and Miller-Driscoll Principal Kathy Coon \u2014 that focused on the school\u2019s new playgrounds. The preschool playground, which\u00a0won\u2019t be installed until July or August,\u00a0will be \u201ctoward the front, north end of the school\u201d\u00a0near the preschool wing, said Jeanes. Playground subcommittee The playground subcommittee made sure Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pierce was involved in the planning process, said Jeanes, and worked with resident Vivian Lee-Shiue, who helped renovate the playground at Merwin Meadows. The subcommittee worked with Peter R. Wallace, park and playground consultant with outdoor equipment supplier O\u2019Brien & Sons, playground design firm Landscape Structures, and Barry M. Blades, landscape architect with Blades & Goven landscape design firm. Subcommittee members also met with teachers, administrators and parents to look at playground design\u00ads and a school social worker to make sure the the playgrounds would accommodate all students, including those with special needs and disabilities. \u201cWe made sure there was accessibility for both playgrounds for handicapped students,\u201d said Jeanes, who indicated about 20 hours was spent planning the new playgrounds. \u201cI would say we had about four meetings specific to only the playgrounds,\u201d she said, \u201cand I did some research as well.\u201d Features Jeanes said the new K-2 playground is \u201cvery different\u201d from the old one. It includes musical components like a drum and xylophone-like instrument, which, she said, the building committee was \u201creally excited about.\u201d In addition, \u201cRather than a lot of flat surfaces, there are a lot of climbing apparatuses available,\u201d she said. The playground subcommittee looked at \u201cwhat is current right now,\u201d said Jeanes, and included \u201ca lot of vertical rises and different ways to climb.\u201d However, she pointed out, \u201cwe did keep flat areas for accessibility for students who don\u2019t have the mobility to do that.\u201d One \u201cmajor decision\u201d the committee had to make was choosing a material for the flooring of the playground. \u201cThere was a big conversation about if we were going to have soft rubber covering or if we were going to do the wood chips,\u201d said Jeanes. \u201cWe relied on advice from the manufacturer, as well as what had been done in town already \u2014 what worked and what didn't work \u2014 how long it would last, maintenance,\u201d said Jeanes, \u201cand we looked to [Wallace] and his experience.\u201d Jeanes said \u201ca lot of factors were involved,\u201d including cost, which played a big role in the final decision to use wood chips. Jeanes said she and fellow playground subcommittee members \u201cfelt that teachers would have a much more in-depth understanding of what students would need and what would be practical,\u201d but they also spoke to several students to find out what their ideal playground would be like. The subcommittee learned there were \u201ccertain things all kids want\u201d like swings, said Jeanes, \u201cso we made sure there were a good number of swings for everybody.\u201d Making sure there was enough space so \u201ca lot of kids can play at the same time\u201d was another factor in the design process, said Jeanes. Preschool playground While the preschool playground will also have musical features, Jeanes said, it will be \u201cvery different\u201d from the K-2 playground because it will be used by younger students. Design renderings show it will be more simple than the K-2 playground. It will have swings\u00a0\u2014\u00a0including a molded bucket swing, a drum and slides. Jeanes said the subcommittee looked for ways to make the preschool playground accommodating for all Miller-Driscoll\u2019s youngest learners, a number of whom have special needs. For example, Jeanes said, there will be a rubber-covered area around the outside of the preschool playground to make it easy for physical and occupational therapy staff to move equipment and work with students outside. Jeanes said it was \u201creally exciting\u201d to help plan and design Miller-Driscoll\u2019s new playgrounds. \u201cKnowing what I grew up with as a child and what was there before,\u201d she said, \u201cit\u2019s a great change and really adds a lot to the school.\u201d Click here to learn more about the Miller-Driscoll Building Project.