The grounds at Fred Moore Day Nursery School look much brighter.
A bright new play structure stands on the south side of the school grounds, under a giant purple umbrella.
Executive director Dinora Padilla said the school finally put a 2015 Community Development Block Grant, federal monies given to small municipal projects, to use.
The new playground equipment is the flashiest of the improvements made with the $108,927 grant, Padilla said, but the money stretched further than that.
“The grant allowed us to fix existing fencing and add self-latching gates and a keyless entry around the school,” she said. “And it went toward building a playground on the north and south sides of the school.”
The nonprofit child care center serves low-income families through programs for children ages six weeks to 3 years old. The Denton nursery school can serve up to 91 children.
A second program, Fred Moore at Gonzalez School for Young Children, serves ages 3 to 5.
The block grant funded improvements at the nursery school campus, located in Southeast Denton.
Padilla said the grant allowed the center to make dramatic improvements.
“On the south side of the building, there wasn’t a playground at all, just some picnic tables and some plastic features,” she said. “And on the north side, there was a wood play structure that had gotten old. There was no shade, either, on the south side.”
Padilla said the grant included sod, a welcome change from the dirt that would wash toward the building when the rains came. Work crews built a tricycle path, a sandbox and installed the new play structure. Around the play structure, the center added rubber mulch made from tires for ground cover.
“It was so cute,” Padilla said. “When they were working on the playground, all the kids were lined up at the window, watching.”
By law, the children have to go outdoors twice a day. In the hot summer months, Padilla said the trips to the playground were short thanks to heat and glare.
“Now they come out here for 45 minutes in the morning and the afternoon,” she said.
The play structure is bright green under the purple shade. There are three slides, climbing features and a platform. The play areas have chimes, drums and a clear acrylic bubble with a propeller inside that whirs when a child twists a steering wheel.
The verdict on the improvements came fast.
“The kids love it.”