More than 100 volunteers converged on Saturday, Aug. 17 to help create a multi-sport court at Longfellow Elementary School.
Some preparation was made a few days prior, but most of the building was done that day. But it took more than just a few days for this project to come to completion.
According to Lisa Lindsay, Longfellow PTA, the idea started about 10 years ago.
After moving into the Longfellow Elementary School district, Lindsay found out through her children that the school didn’t have a playground.
Since then, Lindsay and the Longfellow Elementary PTA has been working with KaBOOM! and Foresters Financial, the funding partner for the project, to create a playspace for students at Longfellow. KaBOOM! Is a national nonprofit dedicated to giving youth great and safe places to play. Foresters Financial is a purpose-driven organization that exists to enrich family and community well-being, according to its literature. Together, they achieved the project goal of designing a playspace that features a variety of sports for students, teens, and families in Long Beach.
After the kick-off ceremony, volunteers worked on building various play spaces around the playground. The main feature will allow students to play soccer, volleyball, and tennis.
According to Lindsay, students will be able to play soccer during recess, but the volleyball and tennis courts are to be used during P.E.
Other notable game areas include a bean bag dart toss, and an area with hand-painted world maps.
Lindsay said students can use their imagination to play games on the maps such as identifying a specific country on the world map or a specific state on the map of the United States.
“They can play games like Find India,” she said.
Volunteers also built table games such as tic tac toe, chess, checkers and mancala.
Though there is a lot of space for games, there’s very little shade provided around the playground. In an attempt to resolve this issue, benches were built around trees for children to rest and cool down.
In another area, an outdoor classroom was built. Volunteers built benches, a stage, a lending library and laid down gravel. A chalkboard was built and placed there for outdoor teaching.
But according to Lindsay, the playground isn’t only for students. She said the playground will be open and available to the community after school and on weekends.
Edward Sigur, principal at Longfellow Elementary, said the project was a community effort. He said parents, students, and other community members were involved. It also will take this community effort to take care of the play space, he said.
Final construction completed around 1:30 p.m. that day. A ribbon-cutting ceremony immediately followed along with congratulatory statements from various community members including Eighth District City Councilman Al Austin.
The playground will serve approximately 950-1,000 Longfellow Elementary School students in the upcoming school year in addition to residents in the community.
Longfellow Elementary School is at 800 Olive Ave. First day of school is next Wednesday, Aug. 28.