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Thanks to a five-year, $18,400 fund-raising effort, children at Grover L. Preiss Elementary School in Eden will be seeing one of two new playgrounds planned for the school by this summer.

The first playground will be erected near the first-grade wing of the school. The second, planned for sometime next year, will be built near the second-grade portion of the building.

"We are still about $1,500 short for building the first playground, but we are hoping for a May construction date," said Kathy Saab, elementary school principal. She said that to cut costs, the district is looking for parent volunteers to help construct the playground, along with the donation of stone and timber.

"With parents participating in the construction, costs will be cut considerably, and (Landscape Parkitects) will supervise the process," Saab said. Landscape Parkitects, an Ithaca-based firm, also constructed a playground at Parkdale Elementary School in East Aurora.

The first-grade playground will cover more than 1,500 square feet and will include a curved balance beam, a hand-loop monkey bar assembly, a chain link vertical ladder, suspension bridge and a roller slide.

The second-grade set will be almost 1,300 square feet and will include a log roll, a horizontal ladder, a spiral slide and a braille panel.

Saab said all the features on each playground will be connected, and each playground will have a platform for wheelchair accessibility.

Total cost of the project is $40,662, of which $20,000 is earmarked in a district capital project still pending state approval; $18,452 has been raised through wrapping paper sales, parents, teachers, administrators, local businesses and a $1,000 grant from the Eden Community Foundation.

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