Editor’s note: This story was originally published on LiveWellNebraska.com
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By Katy Healey
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER
Gym class just got more fun at two Omaha elementary schools.
Conestoga Magnet Center and Fontenelle Elementary in north Omaha unveiled new “fitness playgrounds” Thursday. The equipment is designed to promote physical activity among the students and in the community.
The new equipment includes monkey bars, parallel bars, pull-up bars, a sit-up station, a step-up station, a vault bar and a pole climb. There is additional new equipment, including hula hoops, available for use inside the school gyms.
Students at each school watched the ribbon cutting ceremony and demonstrations on how to use the equipment by fellow classmates.
“I’ll play on all of it,” said 8-year-old Aniya Stewart, a 3rd grader at Fontenelle Elementary, but the monkey bars are her favorite, “because you get to swing.”
The monkey bars are different from traditional monkey bars because they are angled to challenge different muscle groups. The new playground equipment, including angled monkey bars, is designed to challenge different muscle groups.
“Where the (normal) playground is fun, this is fun and challenging,” said Toba Cohen-Dunning, the executive director of the Omaha Schools Foundation.
The equipment will be used during gym classes and is open to the community when school is not in session. “We want to make sure all kids in Omaha Public Schools have the same opportunities…and access to fitness equipment,” Cohen-Dunning said.
She and other school and city officials visited both Omaha schools for the unveiling ceremony that included representatives from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of
Nebraska, which funded the project.
“It’s a great for us, for health and wellness, if you can start them at a young age,” said Rob Trebilcock of Blue Cross.
The insurance company funds $16,500 of each project, with contributions made by the Omaha Schools Foundation, too.
Conestoga and Fontenelle are the ninth and 10th schools in Omaha to receive fitness playgrounds in six years. Another fitness playground, at a Lincoln school, will be unveiled later this month. Blue Cross hopes to fund more fitness playgrounds in the coming years.
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OTHER SCHOOLS WITH FITNESS PLAYGROUNDS
1. Harrison Elementary
2. Joslyn Elementary
3. Ashland Park/Robbins
4. Field Club Elementary
5. Bancroft Elementary
6. Boyd Elementary
7. Hartman Elementary
8. Kellom Elementary
9. Conestoga Elementary
10. Fontenelle Elementary
11. Kahoa Elementary
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