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According to school officials, the playground slide that was burned and destroyed in an apparent arson at Piñon Elementary in the early morning hours of Aug. 14 could be back by the middle of September.
According to Superintendent of Schools Gene Schmidt and the school district’s chief of operations, Joanie Ahlers, the slide and the replacements for the other parts and components of the playground that were damaged will be arriving soon.
“Factoring the installation and the delivery time of the parts, we believe the playground should be back online by Sept. 11 or 12,” Schmidt said.
Jill Gonzales, the school’s principal said they’ve taken down the remains of the slide and have taken off all the damage parts, so the other parts of the playground will be safe for use. She said the damaged section had already cordoned off from the rest of the playground and students aren’t allowed into that section until the slide is repaired.
“We’ve cordoned it off so students won’t get injured, but, they still have access to 50 percent of the play structure,” she said.
On Aug. 14, Thursday morning, at around 1:30 a.m., Los Alamos Fire and police were called to the scene of the fire, which heavily damaged the slide and the structure it was attached to. By the time the fire was put out, the blue plastic slide was completely melted.
“It saddens me this senseless, mean-spirited act disrupted the first day for students,” said Schmidt in an earlier Los Alamos Monitor article on the incident.
During his update about the damaged playground, Schmidt also wanted to remind the public that $1,000 reward for information that would lead to the arrest of the vandals is still standing.
“We are still looking to identify who this person or persons are, and our students are very resilient. We still had a good first day when the playground opened up, but the students are also looking forward to the day when their playground is one hundred percent back in working order.”