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Carlson Elementary School students will be without a playground for the next few months for a good reason: Construction has started on the new play area.

Crews began removing the old equipment — some of it installed in 1987 — last weekend in preparation for a new playground with a soccer field, basketball court, garden boxes, an outdoor classroom and play areas for children from preschool through sixth grade.

Crews even delivered two huge boulders they found when installing the Georgetown Community School playground that will be used as a climbing feature.

In the interim, recess will take place in two fenced areas in front of the Idaho Springs school.

Most of the playground costs are funded by a bond measure approved by voters in 2018, though the school is still seeking donations to make the playground just the way the school’s Student Council members envisioned. Student Council members had a hand in designing the space, using the outdoors and the environment as their themes.

Carlson’s PTA has donated $20,000 to the playground effort, and on Friday, school officials and Student Council members accepted a donation from Safeway. Kris Staaf, Safeway’s regional director of public affairs, presented the giant-size $6,000 check, explaining that folks at the Idaho Springs Safeway prompted the Safeway Foundation donation.

“Our foundation donates to local food banks and educational programs to be a good community partner,” she said.

School officials hope they can raise enough money from donations to turn the sod soccer field into a turf field, which can be moved along with the other equipment if the school district decides to move Carlson Elementary School into the former middle school building, project manager Carla Pokrywka Cole said.

Sixth-grader Noah Windley said he will be glad to be rid of the old equipment because he keeps hitting his head as he climbs on it, and he is excited to play on the new field and basketball court.

Co-Student Council member Austin Canon said the new equipment will be safer for students to play on.