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Work finished on expansion, improvement at Roosevelt Elementary playground in Willmar, Minn.

A whole new section of playground equipment at Roosevelt School is being assembled this week at the school. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

WILLMAR - A three-year project to improve the playground at Willmar's Roosevelt Elementary School is done.

Workers were putting the finishing touches on the playground Wednesday afternoon.

Parent-Teacher-Student Association president Stephanie Swenson said the project includes about $31,000 in new playground equipment.

Roosevelt used to be a school for grades 4-6. When it made the transition to a K-5 school a few years ago, "we needed some more equipment geared toward younger kids," Swenson said.

The expanded playground includes climbing structures for younger children, as they couldn't reach some of the old ones. There's a set of monkey bars the little kids can reach and a bridge along with several stand-alone play structures.

"It's been a fun project," she said. All of the equipment came from the Little Tikes Co., which had built the original equipment.

"They worked with us to add to what was already there," she said, and the new pieces match the old.

Swenson said she is looking forward to the kids' first day of school with all the new equipment. "They're going to be excited to see it."

Jennie-O Turkey Store donated money for the playground project, and Monson Excavating donated pea rock for it, Swenson said.

Some money came from Willmar Public Schools, and the PTSA raised money through its chili suppers. Another source of cash was the label programs that generate corporate donations for schools.

The donation programs include Box Tops for Education, Labels for Education, Save Five for Schools and Labels for Learning. Information about the PTSA and the labels programs can be found on the Roosevelt school website under "Parent Resources."

"I have been surprised how that adds up," Swenson said.

The Roosevelt playground project will be the last one Swenson leads, she said. She is stepping down after 10 years as PTSA president, first at Lincoln Elementary and then at Roosevelt.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

(320) 214-4340