By RANDY TATANO
Special to Atmore News
This summer the playground at Pollard-McCall Junior High was a real blast.
Sandblast, that is.
That bright red, white and blue playground which greeted students on their first day has become a patriotic physical education magnet. But the playground isn’t new, just the result of a clever bit of remodeling.
Randall Jackson was wrapping up his first year as principal and had noted the playground looked awful, as much of the original paint had vanished. Upon closer inspection, a red flag went up: he saw a little rust beginning to peek through. Jackson knew this was now a safety issue.
“It was not appealing to start with, and not a good situation for the kids,: he said. So he immediately started shopping around for a new playground.
But he ran into sticker shock.
“A new one would be very expensive, so I looked into fixing up the one we had,” he said.
Jackson found a local company that could restore the current playground. Though it was old, it was metal and had good bones. Everything was sandblasted down to the bare metal, sealed and repainted. In the case of the monkey bars, those had to be completely taken apart before they were treated.
The result is something that attracts kids, even those who might dread physical education class.
Coach Keith Nall, who handles physical education at the school said the attractive playground is inspiring.
“It motivates them to do their best,” he said. And having a colorful playground that looks new, “means a lot to the kids.”
Brewton resident Randy Tatano is a veteran TV news reporter and network producer, and is currently a novelist and freelance writer for the Escambia County School System.