No one is quite sure when the new playground equipment at Hollywood School in Brookfield will be installed. The equipment had been expected to arrive this week, but now the district has been told by its supplier that the equipment won’t be shipped for at least three more weeks.
“It could be later, which is not a very reassuring statement,” said Ramesh Nair, who is overseeing the construction of a multipurpose room and the new playground at Hollywood School.
Once the playground equipment finally arrives it will take around two weeks to install, pushing completion of the playground into October at the earliest.
Supply chain constraints and bottlenecks caused by the pandemic have slowed the Hollywood School project considerably. Some rooftop air conditioning units that were expected in July just arrived.
The windows for the multipurpose room are now not expected to arrive until mid-November, but Nair said temporary windows, possibly made of plywood, would be installed sometime in the next month. Once that is done the district plans to apply for a temporary occupancy permit.
“The plan is to get a temporary occupancy permit for the addition by early October,” Nair told the Riverside Elementary School District 96 Board of Education at its Committee of the Whole meeting on Sept. 1. “That does not mean the project is finished.”
Paving was completed around the new multipurpose room addition on Sept. 2 and the shell of the addition is complete.
The rest of Hollywood School, 3423 Hollywood Ave., has been in full and normal use since school began last month. Recess has been affected because there is no playground, but the Hollywood Community Association has been allowing the school to use the lawn in front of the Hollywood House, which is next door to the school, for recess.
The new playground is being built on land owned by the HCA and leased to the school district.
“The HCA has been a great neighbor,” said Hollywood School Principal Kim Hefner. “They’ve agreed to let us use the east side, which is not part of the lease agreement, as well as what is available on the west and south side, so kids are playing there. We’re bringing out a variety of different equipment every few days so they have a variety of different toys and materials to play with.”
The delay in completing the multipurpose room is mostly affecting the art and music teachers. The room also will be used as a lunch room and a large meeting space.
Music teacher Bill Howes and art teacher Ellie Valaisa are anxiously waiting to use the new multipurpose room. Howes had all of his equipment packed and ready to move in, but for now he is teaching his classes in the school’s gym.
“We’re chomping at the bit to get in there,” Hefner said.