SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Press Release

Contact: Chris Corliss, SMMUSD, 310-450-8338, ext. 284 or

Dan Hardwick, City of Santa Monica, 310-434-2654

For Immediate Release

May 23, 2002

PLAYGROUND PARTNERSHIP

DEDICATION CEREMONY - SATURDAY JUNE 8, 2002

The Playground Partnership, a community partnership of the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is scheduled to open on Saturday, May 25, 2002 at McKinley, Will Rogers, Roosevelt, Franklin, and Grant elementary schools and also at John Muir-SMASH Schools at Los Amigos Park. Playground Partnership provides school-aged youth, their friends and families unsupervised use of Proposition X improved school playgrounds and play fields for recreation during certain non-school hours. A Playground Partnership dedication ceremony celebrating improvements at all six sites is planned for Saturday, June 8, 10:00 a.m. at Grant Elementary School, 2368 Pearl Street, Santa Monica. Community members are encouraged to join City Mayor Michael Feinstein, SMMUSD Board President Julia Brownley and Schools Superintendent John Deasy at this event.

According to Chris Corliss, Santa Monica-Malibu Schools Coordinator of Sports and Physical Education and the District's Playground Improvement Project Manager, "The opening of Playground Partnership is the culmination of a vision developed over 10 years by many community, School District, City, recreation and youth sports groups in the City." Said Corliss, "Having quality local school playgrounds for physical activity classes, recess and before and after school play is a major piece of our children's fitness plan. Access during non-school hours for more physical activity through play and sports is necessary for maintaining our children's health. Policies that encourage youth and family physical activity are an added benefit. It is a $5,000,000 investment in our community's health and wellness that will pay dividends for years to come."

Once again Santa Monica is leading the way in innovative development projects. SMMUSD Board President, Julia Brownley, states, "The Playground Partnership ceremony on June 8th showcases how a partnership between the City and the School District can collaboratively solve a lingering community challenge. Our school yards have been transformed from concrete slabs to grassy, child-friendly spaces. Our children will benefit during the school day with much improved athletic and recreational facilities and they will also have a safe and welcoming place to go after school and on the weekends in their own neighborhoods. Through this partnership, our community will also enjoy more open space and additional fields for organized sports. The synergism of this project definitely deserves celebration!"

"Now that we have exceptional public school/community youth playgrounds, the joint use agreement linking the School District and City can be a model for other school/city partnerships. The community and its leaders on the Board of Education and City Council should be very proud of their efforts." said Corliss. Barbara Stinchfield, Director of the City of Santa Monica's Community and Cultural Services Department, commented, "Community members have long advocated for this and now it's time for them to enjoy the benefits of their advocacy. We hope to see these playgrounds filled with happy Santa Monica families this summer!"

The Playground Partnership provides quality, accessible recreational space for children and families to enjoy school playgrounds, play fields, play equipment, exercise paths, basketball and handball courts. Playground offices and restrooms at McKinley, Will Rogers, Roosevelt, Franklin and Grant make the sites user-friendly for families and youth sports groups alike. At these five sites, use of the playground facilities is limited to youth ages 18 and under and friends and family who accompany them. Others are welcome to use City parks which are intended for use by persons of all ages. Playground Partnership hours vary by time of year and site. Signs at each site indicate hours for that location. Playground Partnership Representatives will provide scheduled monitoring of program facilities to encourage proper use. Saturday field permits are available for groups of youth ages 12 and under. Youth groups larger than ten must obtain a permit from the City to use the fields. Playground Partnership rules, posted at each site must be followed by all patrons of Playground Partnership. The Muir/SMASH Schools' playground is located at Los Amigos Park and is open to the general public, operating under public park rules. For information, a list of sites, hours, closures due to maintenance or special school events or, if you have a specific question regarding Playground Partnership, please call the Playground Partnership Info-Line at (310) 458-8228 or visit the website at www.playgrounds.santa-monica.org

####

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

1651 16th Street, Santa Monica 90404 - 310-450-8338 - fax. 310-581-1138