Defunct Lions Lair playground in Lockwood gets help from ExxonMobil

2014-01-10T16:30:00Z 2014-01-12T09:09:07Z Defunct Lions Lair playground in Lockwood gets help from ExxonMobilGazette Staff The Billings Gazette

Lockwood Schools received on Friday a donation for the Lions Lair, the celebrated community playground that was closed to the public in 2012 for safety concerns.

ExxonMobil gave a $25,000 grant to the district with the hopes that it will encourage others to give to the project so that the playground can be rebuilt.

“ExxonMobil is committed to advancing math and science education. Physical activity and play are key to building healthy minds, bodies and curiosity in our future scientists and engineers,” Monica Mainland, manager of the ExxonMobil refinery in Lockwood, said in a statement. “We are excited to support a new outdoor play and learning environment to be enjoyed by the children in our community.”

The playground, a massive, rambling wood structure built in 1994 adjacent to Lockwood School, was championed and then built through the efforts of the local PTA. When it was done, the PTA handed it over to the school.

In the summer of 2012, the district’s insurance company, Western States, toured the playground and told district officials it either needed serious updates or it needed to be closed.

The district didn’t have the funds to repair or update the structure, so the board voted to close it.

The Lockwood Schools PTA has been working to raise funds since then and is hopeful Exxon’s donation will spur other businesses and community members to contribute as well.

It hopes to receive enough donations to be able to dismantle the old structure and build a new one.

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