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The Morley PTO will host a pancake feed and vendor fair fundraiser Friday, Oct. 26, at Morley Elementary School, 6800 Monterey Dr., to benefit the school’s playground project. Students can also participate in a school-wide “penny war” that week, competing by grade level to see who can raise the most funds.

You could call the playground at Morley Elementary well-loved, having served many students through its decades of operation. But when “playground safety and improvements” came up as a top concern on the PTO’s annual survey multiple years in a row, school leaders knew it was time to upgrade the space – including adding accessible equipment. The PTO board and principal began conversations with the LPS district office and, just before the winter break of 2017, gained approval for a playground master plan.

Fundraising began in earnest, including a school-wide walk-a-thon in May and participation in Give to Lincoln Day. By mid-summer, the PTO had enough money to start construction.

The entire project is estimated to cost about $125,000, so the school is taking a phased approach:

• Phase 1 includes the concrete pad for what will be two connected play areas, along with the installation of a large play structure and rubber safety surfacing. Prior to the start of school, the old playground was removed and new concrete poured. The school expects the large play structure to be installed yet this fall.

• Phase 2 includes a number of smaller play pieces along with rubber safety surfacing for the second play area. This phase is estimated to cost about $40,000, and the school is actively fundraising for these expenses now.

“Having a safe, fun and accessible space for all our students to play and burn off some energy helps them return to class more focused and ready to learn,” said PTO board member Laura Wiese. “We still have a ways to go, but we’re incredibly grateful for the support of our school community to make this dream a reality.”

Learn more about the Morley playground project, including ways to donate, at morleypto.org/playground-project, or contact project chair Emily Casper at playground@morleypto.org.

Business or individual donations of $1,000 and above will be recognized on a permanent donor wall inside the school. The Morley PTO is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and all donations are tax deductible.

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