BRENTWOOD -- Brentwood City Manager Paul Eldredge spent many a childhood recess playing hopscotch and games involving the states and capitals with U.S. maps painted on campus playgrounds.

Now, Eldredge is involved with a Brentwood Rotary Club project to paint these maps on all of Brentwood's elementary school campuses. So far, local Rotarians and volunteers have painted similar maps at Garin, Pioneer, Ron Nunn and Krey elementary schools and they plan to complete the other elementary campuses by the start of the next school year.

"It is a great learning tool and an instant success with the students," Eldredge said.

Project leader Dirk Zeigler said that other Rotary clubs have done the same community service project, but Brentwood Rotary was awarded a grant for the project from Rotary International. Zeigler said they also hope to expand the map painting to schools in Oakley, Byron and Discovery Bay.

According to Zeigler, the inspiration for the project came from a map that was fading at Brentwood Elementary School and was originally created as an Eagle Scout project.

"I love working with kids and I wanted to do something with an impact that is lasting for kids," he said. "It is a great gift to give to the school and it is a lot of fun."

Among the Brentwood Rotarians painting the maps on weekends are members of the Interact Club, Rotary's high school club at Liberty High School, and Brentwood City Council members, Zeigler noted. He added that it takes them about 45 minutes to stencil the map and about two hours to paint it on a Saturday and they seal it on Sunday.

"The young kids go out there after the weekend on Monday and see this giant map," Zeigler said. "It is a great project and it will last in perpetuity. We will re-paint them every few years."

Started last summer, the map murals are typically painted near the campus multi-purpose room or an area that is accessible to the playground. Zeigler said that they are meant to support elementary school curriculum including the fifth grade state project.

Liberty Union High School District Superintendent Eric Volta recently volunteered with the map project and said that it is a great activity that his district is involved in.

"I loved doing a project that I knew on Monday morning would be appreciated by hundreds of kids," Volta said.

Zeigler said that they have plans to paint an emblem or star on the maps to represent Brentwood.

"It has been successful. I promised that we would expand into far East County schools to be fair to everyone," he said. "The goal is to do another one in Brentwood in May."

Reach Paula King at 925-779-7174 or pking@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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