New playground refreshes Yukon neighborhood school

Ranchwood’s play equipment replaced this summer after 18 years

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Ranchwood Elementary Principal Kristin Lipe prepares to head down the slide on the school’s new playground. Lipe estimates the previous playground equipment had been there about 18 years. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

A new playground is attracting attention – and children – at a Yukon neighborhood school.

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New play equipment and artificial turf have been installed at Ranchwood Elementary School, 607 Annawood.

Ranchwood’s playground was worn and sorely needed to be replaced.

“We are so excited for our Ranchwood students to experience the new playground equipment and basketball court,” Principal Kristin Lipe said. “The turf is so soft and luxurious.

“We are so blessed to live in such a wonderful community. I believe the decisions a community makes are a reflection of its values.”

Lipe has been Ranchwood’s principal for 22 years, and the school’s previous playground equipment was installed about 18 years ago.

“Yukon has once again shown that keeping our schools strong is a priority that defines why our community is such a special place,” she said. “Yukon is the best!”

As Yukon Public Schools’ longest-serving head principal, Lipe is starting her 25th year with the district. She attended Myers Elementary School growing up and graduated from Yukon High School.

Ranchwood and Skyview elementaries received new playgrounds this summer, funded through YPS’ 2021 bond issue.

Yukon voters, by a more than 70% majority, approved a $194 million bond package in a November election.

Interestingly, Lipe taught for one year and was assistant principal for one year at Skyview in the late ‘90s before becoming Ranchwood’s head principal.

Ranchwood Elementary was named for the adjacent Ranchwood Heights Addition north of Main Street. The school opened in 1971.

Kristin Lipe is Yukon Public Schools’ longest-serving head principal, with 22 years at Ranchwood Elementary. She is starting her 25th year with YPS. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
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MORE TO COME …

Ranchwood and Skyview playgrounds were done first among YPS’ seven elementary (pre-kindergarten-grade 3) sites because they were the oldest and had the greatest need for replacement, according to Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth.

The new playgrounds cost about $200,000 each and were provided by Happy Playground LLC.

The other five YPS elementary schools (Central, Parkland, Shedeck, Surrey Hills, and Myers) will receive playground upgrades paid for with bond funds, Simeroth emphasized.

Two or three more sites are due to be done in summer 2023.

New playground equipment was previously installed at the district’s three intermediate (grades 4-6) sites, Independence, Lakeview and Redstone.

Meanwhile, Act Global America crews on the evening of Aug. 10 began final installation of artificial turf at the Yukon varsity softball field behind Yukon High School, 1777 S Yukon Parkway.

This $537,972 project also was funded through the 2021 Yukon school bond issue.

This drone photo shows the recently completed playground at Ranchwood Elementary School, 607 Annawood. When it was built in the early ’70s, the neighborhood school was named for the adjacent Ranchwood Heights Addition. (Photo provided)
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