Camp Zama school losing 'Monkey Mountain'
CAMP ZAMA, Japan — John O. Arnn Elementary School officials are in the process of hiring a contractor to remove “Monkey Mountain” from the playground.
The rope-style jungle gym met safety guidelines when designed five years ago, Principal James Fisher said Monday. But by the time it opened in May, guidelines for such structures had become more stringent and Monkey Mountain exceeded the height standard for playground equipment.
Parents also voiced concern it was too tall for young children to climb, Fisher said.
Monkey Mountain is 20 feet tall at the center post and 18 feet at the top of the climbing area, Fisher said. The current height limit is 12 feet.
“It’s a very high piece of equipment,” Fisher said. “We sealed it off with safety fencing two or three weeks ago.”
The orange fencing will keep children off the climbing equipment until it can be removed, he said. Children had used the equipment a few weeks in May and at the beginning of this school year.
No injuries were reported, he said, but “one slight accident would be one too many.”
The school is selecting a contractor to complete the work; a cost estimate is not yet available.
Fisher said school officials have yet to decide if they will replace Monkey Mountain with other playground equipment.
“We’ll have to look at funds,” he said, noting new baseball and soccer fields already are planned to open next spring.
Monkey Mountain and the new fields were included in the construction package for the school’s new campus, which opened in August.