The John Preston Award is given annually to a group or organization that has made a difference in creating S.A.F.E. play areas for children. This year’s award goes to the Blue Springs School District in Blue Springs, Missouri. During 2011-2012, one school had 11 breaks and sprains and 5 who needed medical attention due to mulch in the eyes. Twenty visited the nursed from mulch in the eyes. In 2012-2013, the school decided to do a pilot year and installed one are of a safe turf and left one area of mulch. From August to the end of May that year, the school had 5 breaks or sprains then required medical treatment. As a result the other play area also installed the safe turf. From August 14-April 4, 2014, they have only had 3 breaks or sprains needing medical attention. They were due to children jumping off the swings, not to the surfacing conditions.
As a result, the school influenced the 12 other schools in the district to install the new turf on all 33 of their playgrounds. The leaders in the project were Dan Anderson, Director of Buildings and Grounds for the district; Kelly Flax, Principal and Currie Trumble, School Nurse, both at Thomas Utican Elementary(TUE) School, Dr. Bill Cowling,TUE staff and students, Board of education- all representing Blue Springs School District. The surfacing that they used was artificial grass produced by SYNLawn. The turf complies with ASTM F1292 and is IPEMA certified. It was installed by TURFetc.
The district also has the playgrounds inspected by a playground inspector who happens to be certified by NPPS.
We congratulate the Blue Springs School District in Blue Springs, Missouri for doing careful planning and taking good steps to make the playgrounds in their district safer for children in order to prevent injuries. We congratulate them for being named the 2014 recipient of the John Preston Award.