UPDATE: Fayetteville PK-8 playground project now complete

FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – After going months without playgrounds, Fayetteville PK-8 now has two installed and completed playgrounds. 

They were finished on Friday, November 29, but it has caused quite a bit of controversy. Fayette County Superintendent Terry George said that they gave the playground committee made up of parents and community members money, and the committee raised some on their own to buy the equipment, but then the problem arose when it came down to how it would be installed. 

“They wanted to put more money into equipment than into installation costs so they worked with the City of Fayetteville to the time to get some of the materials and some of the equipment installed. That didn’t come to fruition,” George said. “That didn’t pan out the way they thought that it would, so we undertook the process of selecting bids and getting a team to come in and install the equipment and get it done in a timely manner.” 

The school board began looking for an installation team back in late October. 

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October 22, 2019: 

Fayetteville Mayor Addresses Fayette Co. Superintendent’s Comments About PK-8 Playground

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va (WOAY) – On Monday, Fayette County Superintendent Terry George stated in an interview with us that the Town of Fayetteville “backed out” of installing the playground equipment at Fayetteville PK-8. At the time we ran the interview, we had not heard back from the town. On Tuesday,  Fayetteville Mayor Sharon Cruikshank reached out to respond to his claims.

According to Cruikshank, back in July, the town agreed to donate $10,000 to purchase the equipment and donate labor to assemble the equipment. However, when it was purchased they were under the impression that they would be supervised by the playground equipment supplier like they had been before with other playgrounds they set up.

It was not the case this time, and when the maintenance crews from the town began to put up some of the poles, they realized they would need supervision from an expert to make sure the equipment was safe. 

“While it seems like it would be simple, you’re talking about the safety of our kids and we want it to be done correctly,” Cruikshank said. “And so we were just waiting to hear back from the board about having that supervision for our guys to complete the job, so we’re just on standby. We support Fayetteville PK-8, we support our citizens and our kids, but most of all we want them to be safe on that playground equipment.”

The mayor did send a letter over to the Board of Education on Tuesday regarding the matter. It can be seen on the town’s Facebook page by clicking here

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October 21, 2019:

Fayette Co. BOE Says Town Of Fayetteville ‘Backed Out’ Of Paying For PK-8’S Playground Installation

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va (WOAY) – The equipment for a new playground at Fayetteville PK-8 that has been sitting outside for weeks may soon get assembled now that the Fayette County Board of Education has taken over.

At the beginning of the school year, the old Fayetteville High School became Fayetteville PreK-8. Because it was an old high school, it did not have a playground. That’s where parents, community members, businesses and even the town itself pitched in to fundraise and buy the equipment.

According to Fayette County Superintendent Terry George, some money came in from the board and the schools’ levy fund. Then the problem arose when it was time to figure out who would pay to install it. 

“They had an agreement with the City of Fayetteville to install the equipment to supervise the installation,” George said. “At this point, about two weeks ago,  the City of Fayetteville backed out and said that they couldn’t complete the project. At that point Mr. [Tim] Payton took it upon himself to secure bids and we will select the company that will professionally install the playground equipment as quickly as possible.” 

After months into the school year and after almost a year of knowing about the consolidation, parents like Jenny Hall say this is something that should have been taken care of a long time ago. 

“I think I’m frustrated with the Board of Education,” Hall said. “They dropped the ball so many times on our community. I just feel like they should have prioritized this a long time ago. They should have been making sure that this was done. They had their eyes on other priorities that they shouldn’t have been. And I think they really dropped the ball.”

But school officials are asking for patience as they’ve had to deal with the sudden changes and go from there.

“We have our students’ best interests at heart,” Fayetteville PK-8 Principal Melissa Harrah said. “We want them to have that playground as much as parents do, and we were trying to maximize the amount of equipment that we can provide for our students. In the long run, they are going to have a wonderful playground . It’s just we’ve taken a different path.” 

And that different path means the school board is now taking bids until Monday and from there the hope is that a company, or two, will be able to install the equipment that has been on the ground at the school for the two new playgrounds. 

We reached out to the Town of Fayetteville for clarification on why they backed out, but have yet to receive a response. The Board of Education said they did not receive an explanation from the town.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com