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Volunteers help make new Lincoln Elementary School playground equipment a reality

LES playground equipment
Volunteers, Lincoln Elementary School staff members who helped with the project, and representatives of the Post Rock Community Foundation which provided grant funds are pictured with one of the new pieces of playground equipment they helped erect at LES, and some of the kids who get to enjoy it. Pictured (L-R): Stanley Walker, volunteer; Sandy Labertew and Joe Biggs, Post Rock Community Foundation board members; LES staff members Shari and Dennis Pittenger, and volunteers Bob White, and Travis and Bob Schwerdtfager. (Photo by John Baetz)
LES playground equipment
Teryn Spear and Kayley Obermueller stop for a picture while playing on the new equipment at the Lincoln Elementary School playground. (Photo by John Baetz)
LES playground equipment
Lincoln Elementary School students enjoy climbing on equipment made possible by a grant from the Post Rock Community Foundation (Photo by John Baetz)

By Jennifer McDaniel, for the Lincoln Sentinel

Recess is a little more exciting for Lincoln Elementary students who spent last week breaking in new playground equipment.

Slides, monkey bars and a spiraling climbing arch are just some of the playground’s newest additions, which were installed during spring break, and ready for students when they returned.

LES Principal Steve Koch said the school purchased the new equipment after officials received $20,000 in grant funding from the Post Rock Community Foundation in November. Without the grant, Koch said, the purchase would not have been feasible.

“With continuing budget cuts from the state, a looming budget cut still hanging over us for the current 2016-2017 school year, and the state discussing ‘sweeping’ unused funds from school districts, the current school funding environment makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to build ‘savings’ for upkeep of school facilities, let alone playgrounds,” Koch said. “Our district has more pressing funding demands for educational resources, staffing and facilities than updating our playground. Yet, our playground provides important aesthetics to our school and community, as well as an important social and healthy environment for our students.”

“We are so blessed that (the) Post Rock Community Foundation supports us in so many ways. (In) recent years, in addition to this playground project, (the) Post Rock Community has provided us the opportunity to add science exploration opportunities for our students, healthy initiatives and updating our landscaping and fencing. With support from our local Web Fund, (the) Post Rock Community Foundation has also provided us the opportunity to purchase a vision screener to assess our students’ vision … These projects would not have been possible without the Post Rock Community Foundation’s support, and the help and support of community volunteers.”

Once the grant was received, students and staff chose the equipment and colors. Though the equipment was received in mid-December, Koch said officials opted for better weather conditions before installing it.

“We waited for a weather window of opportunity, which we hoped would be spring break, which worked well,” he said.

The new equipment includes a spiraling climbing arch, and a combination piece featuring a tunnel, two slides, monkey bars, wave climber and other elements. A new border was also installed around the perimeter of the playground and filled with wood fiber.

The equipment is designed for students in kindergarten through sixth-grade, Koch said.

“Due to the central location of the elementary school in our community, our children use our playground equipment not only during the school day, but also after school, on weekends and holidays, and during the summer,” he said. “This project provides new modern playground equipment, borders and surfacing to increase the level of safety and pleasing aesthetics. Our community emphasizes community improvement and community members strive to make our community an even better place to live. We are hopeful this project will help us contribute to this community improvement initiative.”

Several volunteers and faculty members donated their time and equipment to complete the project on March 24, including Travis Schwerdtfager, Stanley Walker, Bob Schwerdtfager, Bob White, CB Trucking, Dennis Pittenger, Shari Pittenger, Christian Emmert and Chris Marinhagen.

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