School's playset is falling apart after only one year

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by Gary Harper

Bio | Email | Follow: @GaryHarper3TV

azfamily.com

Posted on November 10, 2009 at 9:15 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 7:43 AM

PARADISE VALLEY -- A private school in the Valley says they paid around $15,000 for a playset, but the playset is falling apart. So, they contacted 3 On Your Side for help.

For $15,000 you would expect a playset to last more than just a year. But one local school says that's how long their playset lasted and school officials say they're having a difficult time getting the playset repaired or replaced.

At Kachina Country Day School in Paradise Valley, kids love recess and, of course, recess includes lots of climbing.

"If you don't put something there for them to climb, they'll climb those walls, they'll climb those trees, they'll find something to climb on," said Chris Hawkins, who helps run Kachina Country Day.

As a result, Hawkins says the private school last year paid a Kentucky company called Play Mart around $15,000 for a playset and installation. But a little more than a year later, it's roped off with caution tape so kids wouldn't go anywhere near it.

"We thought we had found a product that would really be worth the investment," Hawkins said.

But their so-called "investment" is falling apart and, according to company brochures, it's not supposed to have any splintering, cracking or splitting.

The playground began to slowly but surely fall apart until the monkey bars fell. Keep in mind, this playground is not supposed to crack, but one crack is so big, you can look right through it.

"I don't have any students strong enough to snap this in half," Hawkins said. "This is just bad material."

After sending a complaint along with pictures of the damage to the company, Hawkins says Play Mart sent him an invoice of parts they were willing to ship.

However, according to Play Mart's warranty, the parts came with a price tag.

"I'm going to have to pay for some of the parts that are not covered under warranty and I'm going to have to pay to have them shipped to me and then I'll have to pay to have them installed," Hawkins said.

After 3 On Your Side got involved, Play Mart investigated, later telling 3 On Your Side that the deterioration of the playset is "extraordinary" and they had no idea the damage was this bad until they received more information.

In a statement to 3 On Your Side, Play Mart says, "In this case we let Kachina know that we would not only replace all the posts even though not all were damaged, we would also cover the freight and arrange for a certified installer to remove the old parts and replace them all at our expense."

That means the dilapidated-looking playset will be back to new in just a few weeks and Kachina School officials say they couldn't be happier.

Play Mart was actually really good to work with. They were very responsive to 3 On Your Side and they do have a B+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

As for the playground, expect to see a follow-up report once all the repairs are done.

Click here to read the statement from Play Mart.

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