MMSD in the home stretch of renovating playgrounds

MADISON, Wis. — As students run out of Huegel Elementary School for recess, they can now let loose on brand new playground equipment that’s nothing like what their parents grew up with.

The Madison Metropolitan School District is in the home stretch of completing 33 playground renovations. Five projects are under construction. Four are still planned. The rest are finished. The district is using $717,818 in federal emergency COVID-19 relief funds (ESSER) and $4,377,241 from the operating budget.

Huegel Elementary’s new playground is a bit hit with students.

“This one is a lot newer and more colorful. The old one had a lot of holes in it and was breaking down,” fifth-grader Geneveie Kamrath said.

“It feels like you’re in American Ninja Warriors,” student Caleb Morales said.

Morales’ favorite section is a corner of the playground with a slanted wall and pedestals.

“You don’t want to miss anything on here, you want to do every single thing every single day,” he said.

The new equipment is difficult to describe. The playground has pieces that look like swings designed for two people, a four-person teeter-totter and several contraptions that spin.

Huegel’s principal, Kristi Kloos, said the benefits are priceless.

“We’re a school that focuses in on restorative justice, and mutual concern, respect and dignity, and we see those kinds of things playing out here,” she said.