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Education

Community works on new Jefferson Elementary School playground

ELMHURST – The Elmhurst community broke ground July 22 on creating a new playground for Jefferson Elementary School.

"The community put forth an amazing effort," said Phil Fernandez, board president of the school's Parent Teacher Association.

Fernandez said Jefferson parents of past, present and future students had contributed to the effort to refurbish the playground.

"It was really heartwarming," he said.

Jennifer Hall, who shares the position of vice president of the Parent Teacher Association's Ways and Means with Kathy Fromm, said they wanted to refurbish the former playground that was 19 years old and make it safer and more inclusive for Jefferson's diverse student body.

Teachers and students chose the playground pieces, including a buddy bench, Hall said. Through sitting on the buddy bench, a child expresses he or she is looking for a friend to play with at recess.

The volunteers and district maintenance staff installed monkey bars, a slide and a spinner standalone July 22 and will add more pieces, a border around the perimeter of the playground and a fresh layer of playground wood chips, Fromm said.

The project is not yet complete and some playground pieces are on back order, but the group hopes to finish it before school starts, Fernandez said. Aug. 16 is the first day of school for District 205 students.

Part of the funding for the new playground came through an Orange Ruler classroom competition fundraiser in April that ended in a school fun run and February's winter carnival fundraiser. To learn more about Orange Ruler, visit orangeruler.com.

District 205 will pay for professional installers to complete the rest of the playground, according to the Jefferson Elementary School Parent Teacher Association's webpage. Until the orange fence around the perimeter is taken down, children should not play on or near the playground to remain safe.

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