Rendering courtesy of Carver Playground Build.
This morning nearly 500 George Washington Carver Elementary School students, alongside faculty, staff, family and friends, celebrated the opening of a new playground designed specifically to accommodate special needs students within the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD).
“Thanks to the hard work of a dedicated group of neighbors and parents, our local community has a new playground accessible to all residents,” Councilwoman Stacy Mungo said in a statement. “Play is important for all our children, and we could not be more thrilled that this unique facility is able to serve all our neighbors.”
Carver Elementary is a destination school for the more than 10 percent of enrollees who experience physical disabilities. Although the school’s grounds have been designed to be accessible for the dozens of students who rely on wheelchairs and walkers, it was one of the last LBUSD campuses lacking a play structure.
Photo courtesy of the Carver Playground Committee by Nicole Summers.
The Carver Playground Committee was formed in 2015 by a group of parents and family members committed to address this lack. Set on designing the perfect play space, they worked with RecWest Outdoor Products of Westlake Village, CA and Landscape Structures of Delano, MN as well as started raising the $160,000 needed to make the playground a reality.
“With this new play structure, we went a step beyond ‘handicapped accessible’ and created LBUSD’s first-ever ‘inclusive’ playground,” Jon Schultz, chairman of the Carver Playground Committee, said in a statement. “An inclusive design not only allows access to the physically disabled, but it encourages kids of all abilities to play together, allowing them to benefit from the collective experience.”
Sponsors of the project include: LBUSD, KaBOOM!, Let’s Play - sponsored by the Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group, retired LA County Supervisor Don Knabe, Jet Blue, LA Lakers, California Resources Corporation, LD Products, Sundt Foundation, Will J Reid Foundation, Berro Family Foundation, Boeing, Long Beach Airport, Mothers Polishes, McCarthy Construction, Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Lysol, Vons, LB Rotary, DocMagic, Aquarium of the Pacific, Kiewit, StangStuff.com, Walmart, Knott’s Berry Farm, Safe Refuge of Long Beach and many others, according to the release.
Former Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe speaking during the unveiling event.
Contributors are recognized with an engraved brick in the “Pathway to Play”, a fundraising brick path installed in the school’s main hallway. The playground is not fully funded yet. To learn more about the project or to contribute to the ongoing costs and continued fundraising efforts, visit the Carver Playground website here.
George Washington Carver Elementary School is located at 5335 East Pavo Street.