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DOE will use $18M to revitalize playgrounds across the state

Pauoa Elementary School playground education
Casey Harlow
A playground at Pauoa Elementary School

The state Department of Education will use $18 million to revitalize playgrounds across the state.

The DOE has partnered with the nonprofit Hawaii 3R’s to repair, replace or add a hundred playgrounds — mostly at elementary schools.

Superintendent Keith Hayashi said playgrounds serve an important role in student success and health, especially after the pandemic. But playgrounds are costly.

"It can be very costly because it’s not just the equipment. We also need to be sure that the flooring is safe for students. So oftentimes, it’s not the playground equipment that needs to be removed, but the flooring needs to be removed, needs to be replaced," Hayashi said.

"Sometimes school funds will be used, but with this infusion of funds to support our schools, our schools can then utilize those monies that were otherwise allocated for playground equipment and use that in other areas of need at the school," he added.

Hayashi said the department has a list of schools that need new playgrounds.

The funds will also help to create a new playground at a middle school on each island.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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