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New playgrounds unveiled at Longfellow and Roosevelt elementary schools

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Longfellow fourth graders join representatives from school administration, the Scottsbluff School Board, the Scottsbluff Public Schools Foundation, and Platte Valley Companies to express their thanks at the official unveiling of their new playground.

Two elementary schools in Scottsbluff have brand new playgrounds, with three others poised to join them soon.

Longfellow Elementary School and Roosevelt Elementary School both unveiled their new playgrounds to their students this week, in addition to inviting the organizations and community members who made the projects possible over for a glimpse on Tuesday.

The playgrounds were funded by the contribution of major donor Platte Valley Companies, alongside the Oregon Trail Community Foundation, the Fleisbach Family Foundation, the Scottsbluff Public Schools Foundation, and the Scottsbluff Board of Education.

“We are very pleased to be a part of any project that involves kids in our community,” said Zac Karpf, president of Platte Valley Bank. “We want to make sure our kids have a good, safe place to play and have healthy lifestyles.”

“We pride ourselves in being major donors within the great things that happen in this community,” added Platte Valley Companies chairman Hod Kosman. “What better investment could we have than our kids?”

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Fourth graders at Longfellow Elementary School swarm their new playground equipment after thanking the adults who made it all possible. The equipment was specifically chosen and designed to fit the space available at the school.

Karpf and Kosman both took their visit as an opportunity to test the new equipment at Roosevelt by climbing to the top and cruising down the spiral slide.

The students at Longfellow and Roosevelt prepared special ways to say thank you to the donors and facilitators of their new playgrounds. Longfellow students made banners expressing their gratitude, and Roosevelt created a piece of art for each contributor to take home in the shape of a tree made of their fingerprints.

Longfellow principal Lukas Benzel said that he and his students have been waiting anxiously for their new playground since last year, and that everyone is excited that the day has finally come.

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Platte Valley Companies chairman Hod Kosman tries out one of the new slides at Roosevelt Elementary School. Platte Valley Companies was the major donor for the playground projects, and Kosman said that investing in our community’s kids is always a great decision.

“They love all of it: the wobbly bridges, the rope course section, and the red spinning ball have especially been crowd favorites,” said Benzel.

Each playground was specially designed for the space available at the individual schools with a priority on accessibility for all students.

“Right now, everybody can access our playground,” said Benzel. “There’s something here for everybody, and everyone can pretty much utilize everything on it.”

The upgrades are just one part of the elementary modernization project taking place over the course of several years at all five Scottsbluff elementaries.

Creative Sites was responsible for the new equipment installed at Longfellow and Roosevelt, and the same company was recently selected by the Scottsbluff Board of Education to do the same at Westmoor Elementary, Lincoln Heights Elementary, and Lake Minatare Elementary. Details on those projects are expected to come at a later date, and are also being funded in part by the Scottsbluff Public Schools Foundation.

Karpf, Kosman, and Scottsbluff superintendent Dr. Andrew Dick all agreed that being able to see and hear the students play on the new equipment as they drive through town always brings a smile to their faces.

“I drive past both of these schools every day on my way to and from work,” said Karpf. “It’s great to see the kids in the community have a great place to play.”


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Fletcher Halfaker is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at fletcher.halfaker@starherald.com. 

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