LVJUSD Nears Completion of New Playground Project
December 19, 2018 - Livermore, CA - New playgrounds throughout Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) elementary campuses are sparking creativity, improving physical fitness, and advancing the development of large motor skills with collaborative play. During any given recess, students can be found jamming out on musical instruments built into their playground, developing an improvised obstacle course with jiggly bridges and climbing bars, and carrying on a conversation yards away from one another with talking tubes.
Schools provide innumerable services for students – each campus must be a place to learn, a place to grow up, a place to eat, and a school must also be a place to play. The school playground is a space for children to unleash energy so patiently reserved while they learn – where they can run, invent games, and finally, after hours being persuaded by teachers to use “inside voices” in the classroom, let loose an “outside voice.” Playgrounds are an important and special facet of the overall educational experience.
Over the summer, the LVJUSD Bond Program Department began replacing old playground structures with updated equipment and rubber safety surfaces that ensure 100% accessibility for all students. This first wave of playground projects at six campuses finished in the fall, and immediately sparked the imaginations of students who began discovering diverse ways to play and explore the new equipment.
“You can always find students climbing the rock walls, and hear the melodic tones of the various musical chimes and percussion devices incorporated with the various slides, bridges, and bars for twirling,” said Croce Elementary Principal Kendra Helsley. “We are grateful to our community for passing Measure J and giving our students these exciting new structures to develop their coordination skills, foster imagination, and help them get some great exercise and fresh air every recess.”
Each playground offers unique elements, having been designed with input by stakeholders of the campuses, including students and parents. Some of the new equipment features musical activities, such as bongos and mallet keyboards. Others are designed for creative thinking, progressive navigational challenges, and fitness. Every structure focuses on accessibility and inclusion that creates opportunities for all students, so students of all ability levels will find elements to enjoy with their peers. The new rubberized safety surface ensures that all students can navigate the structures comfortably and safely.
Elementary school students have been very grateful for their new playgrounds, creating videos and cards, thanking their community and the dedicated Bond department for making the construction possible. “We love hanging with our friends!” shouted some Croce Elementary students in their thank-you video, suspended from the climbing bars and rock walls of their new playground. “Thank you, Livermore community, for supporting our schools!”
The final round of the construction is underway at the remaining elementary school sites, representing the completion of another major project from the Bond Program, in keeping with its priority to benefit schools District-wide. Within one colorful and innovative structure, students are provided outlets for creativity, physical activity, socializing, and play. Each element addresses the needs of all students by its built-in inclusivity, accessibility, and myriad applications. With an expected lifespan of 15-20 years, generations of students will enjoy the equipment and the opportunity to imagine, think, and play together.