ROCKY MOUNT — The Franklin County School Board received an update Monday on the playground removal at Snow Creek Elementary.

Gregg Cuddy, director of operations, said he and Snow Creek principal Ken Grindstaff met with a professional commercial playground sales representative and were exploring a number of alternatives.

Cuddy said some drawings had been taken by Grindstaff to members of the parent-teacher organization, which raised funds for the playground that was removed, and they were well received.

Grindstaff said the PTO was still working to get its money back. The playground was ordered to be removed because it did not meet safety standards.

Superintendent Mark Church said the cost for a new playground that meets all standards would be far more expensive than the $3,500 paid by the PTO. He estimated the cost around $24,000. Church said he is working to solicit donations for the project.

School board member Karen Hiltz, who represents the Gills Creek District, said communication with PTOs needs to be improved to avoid these situations.

“This is a tough lesson to learn,” Hiltz said, noting she felt for the parents who worked hard to raise money to provide for the students.

Cuddy said a project request form had been created to streamline the process in the future.

Additionally, the school board unanimously voted to move forward with a project to provide protection from the elements for students entering Callaway Elementary.

Cuddy said Callaway Elementary and its PTO have been raising money for several years to build a canopy at the front entrance and also down the sidewalk for students arriving by bus. He noted Callaway is the only elementary school in the county without such exterior coverage.

The county received a fee proposal from RRMM Architects for $11,338, Cuddy said, which would cover architectural drawings and design. The division would then put the project out for bid.

The Callaway community has raised $20,000 so far, which Cuddy called a “mighty number” for a small school. He said additional costs would have to be covered by carryover or surplus funds the division may have available.

School board member Charles Jamison, who represents the Blackwater District of which Callaway Elementary is a part, thanked everyone who had supported the canopy effort.

“It’s gratifying to see it moving now,” he said.

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Casey Fabris covers business for The Roanoke Times, where she has been a reporter since 2015. Previously, Casey covered Franklin County.

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