Skip to main content

MB News

Cheers, Celebration as Grand View Elementary Unveils New Playground

Feb 28, 2022 01:54PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Grand View Elementary School officially unveiled its new playground area to cheers and celebration this morning, marking a more-than-halfway point through a major construction project funded by Manhattan Beach's Measure C.

"It's been a long journey to get here... but it's been a labor of love," Manhattan Beach Unified School District Deputy Superintendent Dawnalyn Murakawa-Leopard, told the crowd of school officials, parents, supporters, and students.

MBUSD Superintendent John Bowes at the opening of the new Grand View Elementary playground.

Among those gathered for the ribbon-cutting were MBUSD Superintendent John Bowes, Murakawa-Leopard, MBUSD school board President Sally Peel and board members Cathey Graves and Jennifer Cochran, Grand View Principal Tara Grings, former Grand View Principal Nancy Doyle, and Manhattan Beach City Councilmember Suzanne Hadley (a former Grand View parent).

"I’ve been working on this project as a school board representative for two years, and it’s been an amazing effort by everyone," said Peel. "I’m grateful for the work of our deputy superintendent Dr. Dawnalyn Murakawa-Leopard, my board colleague Jen Cochran, our Maintenance and Operations leader Paul Ruta, and everyone else who has pulled together to make this happen."

Peel continued, "Seeing the progress on campus is exciting and so gratifying. It’s wonderful to know that our students have the facilities that we want for them. They will be able to learn and thrive in an environment that is healthy, clean, and modern. It’s really what we want for our children."

Immediately after officials cut the green ribbon, a gaggle of students as well as the Grand View gator mascot ran onto the playground, testing out the new equipment and breaking out into an impromptu volleyball game.

"I speak for all the kids at Grand View when we say 'Thank you,'" 5th-grader Finn Stoddard, Grand View Elementary's student council president, told the crowd.

Construction Has Been Heard - And Felt

At Grand View, construction has already been completed on a new two-story classroom building, and now the so-called "middle playground" is complete. The remaining construction - expected to be finished later this year - includes a new kindergarten complex and a three-story building on Bell/Blanche Ave. that will house the cafeteria, a multi-purpose room, and administrative offices.

The "middle playground" is so named because of its location on the middle level of the 14-acre campus, which is built into a hillside. While it was under construction, all 497 students had to share one small playground.

But teachers and students have been extremely cooperative during the construction, said Grings, noting that she and the staff created a temporary schedule that would create six different lunch periods to accommodate the students on one playground.

The Grand View Gator checks out the play equipment at the new Grand View Elementary playground.

And even though the construction has been noisy and inconvenient, both students and staff alike have kept a sense of humor about it. 

Stoddard joked about the playground, "Not only have we all watched it being built, we have felt it being built."

Grings concurred. "We've been hearing bulldozers, heavy equipment... We had our first earthquake drill and the building was already shaking. I had one student say to me, 'If we had a real earthquake, I think we might not even know about it.'"

Between COVID and the construction, students have taken it all in stride, Grings added. "Kids are resilient," she said. 

Measure C Touches All Manhattan Beach Schools

Measure C is the $114 million measure - approved by Manhattan Beach voters in November 2016 - that is being used primarily at MBUSD elementary schools to improve infrastructure (including completing air conditioning for all classrooms), replace the Ladera campus at Grand View, and make improvements to each elementary site, based on the Facilities Master Plan developed by MBUSD in 2015.

Those projects - and the progress on them - include:

  • Grand View construction began in 2021 and is expected to be completed later this year.

Subscribe to MB News Emails * Don't Miss a Thing, Sign Up Today!

* indicates required
Email Format