Students at Bebensee Elementary in Arlington are breaking in their new playground.
Since Wednesday, they have been climbing the new playground equipment, swinging and frolicking — all under a canopy that provides shade from the sun.
Bebensee Elementary is the second Arlington ISD campus to open a playground funded by a voter-approved $966 million bond from 2019, according to a school district news release. The first 2019 bond-funded playground was unveiled in March at Pearcy STEM Academy.
Each of the 55 elementary schools in Arlington ISD will get two standardized playgrounds — one for pre-K to first-grade students and the other for second through sixth graders, according to the district. They will include shade structures, accessible play equipment and rubber surfaces. Schools can pick the color of the new equipment, the district said.
“Of all the things I get to do, opening an accessible playground has to be the highlight,” said Kelly Horn, Arlington ISD executive director of plant services. “For all the kids to be able to play really makes your heart feel good.”
The district is upgrading the elementary play areas in three phases. The first phase has 17 schools.
The next playground to open is at Ashworth Elementary, Arlington ISD officials said.
Besides the playgrounds, the 2019 bond also will fund the rebuilding of four schools; renovations for full-day pre-K classrooms; improvements at all campuses; expanding the Dan Dipert Career + Technical Center; athletic field and fine arts upgrades; new school buses; additional security equipment; and technology upgrades for the district’s network as well as replacing staff and student devices.
The nearly $1 billion bond garnered the support of 66.58% of the 21,619 voters who showed up at the polls in November 2019, according to the Tarrant County Elections Department.
Bond projects are expected to be completed by 2025.