Table of Contents
ELLIOTT SCHOOL PARK & PLAYGROUND PROJECT
I. Summary ___________________________________________ 2
II. Project Partners _____________________________________ 3
III. Project Narrative _____________________________________ 4
IV. Project Timeline _____________________________________ 7
V. Project Budget ______________________________________ 8
VI. Project Leadership ___________________________________ 10
VII. Attachment A: Elliott Project Element Costs
Nebraska’s capital city is experiencing a renaissance unlike any in Lincoln’s history. A
recent Journal Star editorial described the mood as “crackling with anticipation”
(9/4/10). With momentous projects under way such as the Haymarket Sports Arena, the
University of Nebraska’s high-tech Innovation Campus, the
expansion of Memorial Stadium, and the Antelope Valley
redevelopment, engaged citizens are transforming the city’s “This is a
configuration and image. These dynamic improvements will make wonderful
Lincoln a more appealing place to live, work, and raise a family. project. It’s a
The Elliott School Park & Playground Project is a critical element it’s even
of this overall renaissance, for it will transform a barren happening.”
schoolyard in a strategic location into a vibrant green space with a —Pat Kurtenbach,
park, playground, and sports field that will accommodate Elliott teacher
baseball, soccer, and other recreational activities. These amenities since 1970
will enrich not only one of Lincoln’s most diverse schools—over
25 languages are spoken at Elliott—but also help revitalize a large
and historically underserved district.
Elliott is a keystone in the vibrant development under way in the Antelope Valley
Channel in Lincoln’s core. Guided by an enlightened philosophy of urban planning, the
Elliott project aims to uplift a distressed neighborhood by connecting it to—not excluding
it from—a major civic revitalization initiative. As U.S. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan
has stated, advancing our nation’s cities will require “building communities in a more
integrated and inclusive way.”
The project enjoys strong community support. Of the total $585,000 expected project
cost, $346,000 (60%), has been raised to date. Lincoln Public Schools Facilities Division
pledges to maintain and sustain the site upon completion.
Because the Kinder Porter Scott Family Foundation has generously supported community
projects throughout Nebraska, we respectfully submit this proposal for your
consideration. Specifically, the project partners request support for the sports field. When
complete, the park, playground, and playing field will be of great value to the entire
Lincoln community, especially those neighborhoods that can benefit most.
Elliott School Park & Playground Project, Lincoln Page 2
II. PROJECT PARTNERS
While the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools is submitting this application as fiscal
agent, the Elliott School Park & Playground Project is the inspired conception of Rotary
International Club #14, Lincoln’s oldest service organization. The project is a
collaboration of five key civic partners, described below.
Since it formed in 1910, Rotary Club #14 has spearheaded countless enterprises to benefit
citizens in Lincoln, in Nebraska, and in locales around the world. For example, Rotarians
contributed the lead gift to build the lovely Pavilion in the renovated Sunken Gardens in
Lincoln. Most recently, Club #14 has supported Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital’s
children’s brain injury unit, facility improvement of a local soup kitchen, mentoring for
at-risk youth, and a health clinic in the Dominican Republic.
Development of the Elliott Project
Ten years ago Rotary Club #14 embarked on a quest to find, develop, or assist an
enterprise that would commemorate the club’s 100th anniversary. Toward this end, more
than 200 club members pledged to contribute
$200 annually for ten years to raise $1 million
by 2010, the club’s centennial. The members
“Supporting youth and actually raised $1.2 million, now in an
education while promoting endowment managed by the Lincoln
goodwill among different Community Foundation.
cultures are values our
community Rotarians have In 2009, after an extensive search, Rotarians
upheld for 100 years. We chose the Elliott Park & Playground Project as
are proud to support this the civic initiative most fitting to commemorate
project and encourage the club’s centennial. From endowment interest
others to join us.” the club contributed a lead gift of $100,000 to
—Dan Wherry, this project.
2009-10 President, Rotary Club #14
After the Lincoln School Board approved the
project, the City of Lincoln Parks & Recreation
Department asked to become a partner because of the school’s proximity to the Antelope
Valley Channel and nearby hiking and biking trails. Lincoln Parks & Recreation and
Urban Development Departments together contributed land and $104,700 in funds.
Additionally, Lincoln Public Schools Facilities Division has pledged $100,000 in
materials, product, and labor toward the project, along with ongoing maintenance.
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The YMCA of Lincoln operates a Community Learning Center at Elliott School. The
Y’s involvement in the project will expand before- and after-school programming and
help create a new soccer venue in the underserved neighborhood.
As fiscal sponsor the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools (FLPS) provides the
financial and managerial infrastructure necessary for the steering committee to conduct
fundraising campaigns, submit proposals, and accept financial and in-kind gifts and
grants. All funds secured or expensed on behalf of the project flow through the FLPS
accounting department. FLPS, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is governed by a
distinguished Board of Directors.
The Foundation has significant development, marketing, and financial experience. Since
it was founded in 1989, FLPS has received gifts totaling $31.1 million and provided
grants totaling $22.7 million for enhancement and enrichment opportunities to the
students and staff of Lincoln Public Schools.
III. PROJECT NARRATIVE
Pat Kurtenbach chuckles when a visitor asks about the soccer field at Elliott. “You mean the
dusty gravel patch with weeds poking out, and burrs that get stuck in your socks?” Lacking
boundaries, the field overlaps with the tetherball court. Nevertheless, “soccer always gets chosen
first at recess,” the Elliott teacher notes.
For many students in this internationally vibrant neighborhood, soccer is the national sport of
their home countries. And it doesn’t require much equipment, a key concern at a school where
over 90% of the kids qualify for free or reduced lunch.
As new research in the field of positive psychology shows, soccer and other popular sports help
disadvantaged youth develop confidence, leadership, motivation, self-esteem, self-discipline, and
cooperation skills, along with widely known benefits such as physical coordination, health, and
fitness (“Project Coach: Youth Development and Academic Achievement Through Sport,” Sam
Intrator and Don Siegel, Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, September 2008).
The planned sports field will accommodate youth soccer, complete with goals; baseball, with a
backstop; and other recreational activities like foot races, ball toss, tag, and general play.
As an Elliott teacher for 40 years, Ms. Kurtenbach is a good judge of what helps and what
hinders her students and their families. “When I look out at my 4th grade class, I see African
American kids, Native American, Hispanic and Latino, Vietnamese. I see kids from Iraq, Iran,
Afghanistan, Serbia, Mexico and Central America. I see White kids, biracial kids.” About one-
Elliott School Park & Playground Project, Lincoln Page 4
third of the students are English Language Learners (ELL); two-thirds are non-white.
As featured in a Parade Magazine cover story (October 10, 2010), in the 1970s the U.S. State
Department designated Lincoln a refugee resettlement city due to its size, stable economy, and
educational opportunities. Vietnamese arrived in the 1970s and ’80s, followed by refugees from
other war-torn and troubled countries. Today, over 50 languages are spoken throughout Lincoln
Public Schools. Elliott is one of the most diverse schools in the entire district.
“This is a wonderful project,” says Ms. Kurtenbach. “It’s a dream that it’s even happening. The
park, playground, and soccer field will give these kids a chance to shine.”
The teacher’s bleak description of the soccer field actually applies to the whole schoolyard. As
the online slideshow on our website (ElliottParkandPlayground.org) will attest, the rough plot of
dirt and gravel used as a playground is a harsh landscape devoid of grass or trees. The area looks
and feels lifeless. Please view the slideshow for images of the dramatic improvements planned.
Geographic Area to be Served
Studied on a map as well as from the ground, the Elliott site appears as a glaring gap in the
forward-looking development underway in Lincoln’s core. Equal parts flood control and inner
city revitalization, the Antelope Valley Project will develop the newly configured Antelope
Creek and its immediate environs as the waterway flows through the city at the eastern edge of
downtown. The swath takes in the north-south expanse between “O” and Vine Streets, and
includes UNL’s emerging Innovation Campus. When complete, the Antelope Valley Channel
will serve as “Lincoln’s Central Park,” with water fountains, an outdoor amphitheater, a
pedestrian plaza, an activity center, and hiking and bike trails. Elliott School occupies a keystone
position within Antelope Valley and Lincoln’s core, just two blocks from the new Union Plaza.
With the planned improvements, this gap will become a vibrant green space that
a gleaming new playground complete with soft ground tiles and equipment for
tots, for neighborhood families
a sports field, replacing gravel with sod or artificial turf
an ADA-accessible walking trail
a sheltered drop-off area with seating
a grand new entrance to the school with a tree-lined walkway
a paved winter play area with stenciled basketball, hopscotch, and four-square
a new parking lot for use by Elliott staff as well as Union Plaza park users
a new trailhead area with kiosk, connecting Antelope Valley hiking and bike trails
a verdant park landscaped with overstory and ornamental trees, shrubs and grasses
Elliott School Park & Playground Project, Lincoln Page 5
Historic preservation coupled with design innovation is one of the strengths of this
project. Elliott is one of the oldest schools in Lincoln, dating to 1888; the present building
was constructed in 1922. The current front entrance on South 25th Street faces a looming
apartment complex across the street. The effect is of a cramped and darkened space.
Children are dropped off at the back of the building, an attractive façade that faces the
open space surrounding Antelope Creek, and the State Capitol rising to the west. The
project will transform this façade into a dramatic new front entrance with a tree-lined
walkway and a paved play area that includes basketball, hopscotch, and four-square.
The new walkway will also enliven the schoolyard garden, now neglected and overgrown
with weeds due to its out-of-the-way location at the back of the building. Reorienting the
entrance will place the garden front and center, rekindling its use as an outdoor
classroom. In fact, the steering committee approached the UNL Master Gardeners
program to adopt the classroom as a project, which they eagerly agreed to do.
Another unique feature, pavers will be engraved with students’ first names and uplifting
words suggested by the Rotary Club, such as “Integrity,” “Humanity,” and “Goodwill.”
The stenciled image of a colorful world map on the main walkway will serve as another
reminder of our connectedness.
The entry to the park and walkway will include a sheltered drop-off area with seating,
providing safety and convenience to the students. Construction materials will match those
used in the 1922 construction of the school. Replicas of the landmark wrought iron gates
and fences that are part of Antelope Park’s history will dignify the entry.
The best and latest thinking in urban planning guide the Elliott project design and
partnership strategy. School-inclusive community development recognizes the key role
schools play in building neighborhoods of promise and choice. Just as Elliott School now
provides social services and cultural enrichment, as well as academics, within its walls,
so the outdoor site can serve as a safe and attractive center for social gathering, physical
activity, and recreation for the surrounding neighborhoods. As demonstrated in many
communities nationwide, school improvements lead to community revitalization, and
vice versa, as reported by the Center for Cities & Schools at the University of California,
Berkeley (“The Mechanics of City-School Initiatives,” November 2009).
The completed park and recreational area will serve a significant number of people, in
addition to providing environmental benefits for this distressed neighborhood. The Elliott
community—staff, students, and their families—represents approximately 1,700
individuals. As the new parking lot will do double duty—for staff during weekdays, for
Elliott School Park & Playground Project, Lincoln Page 6
Antelope Valley park users at other times—the project will benefit thousands more over
the long term.
Overall the Elliott capital improvement project advances the community of Lincoln in
several substantial ways: The project will beautify and enrich the capital city, improving
the quality of life not just for the neighborhood, but for all who live and work in Lincoln.
While it will serve the needs of the diverse population of children and youth who attend
Elliott School, it will also serve their families and the hundreds of people who use the
Antelope Valley park corridor for recreation. The soccer field will be used not only by
the schoolchildren but also by youth soccer teams sponsored by the YMCA and, on
evenings and weekends, folks from the neighborhood. This aspect of the project will
ensure that the area bustles with people and purposeful, healthful activity, and that
hundreds of Lincoln residents will be personally invested in the upkeep, beauty, and
safety of the whole area around Elliott and Antelope Valley.
Further, the project will bring several significant environmental enhancements. The
newly landscaped grounds of the park and playground will add natural beauty and attract
urban wildlife such as butterflies, rabbits, squirrels, and various bird species. This will
give schoolchildren and others an opportunity to see and study wildlife.
Several features of the project are designed to reduce water usage, control stormwater
run-off, and filter impurities prior to the water’s flow into Antelope Creek. The N Street
streetscape will add long-lived overstory trees, beautifying the neighborhood and
providing noise management. Finally, landscaping of the Elliott site, now dusty gravel,
will prevent erosion and improve soil quality.
When complete, by Autumn 2011, this project will significantly improve outdoor
recreational resources for both an underserved school and a distressed area, seamlessly
uplift a neglected neighborhood by connecting it to a promising civic development
project, and enhance the lives of countless children and their families for years to come.
IV. PROJECT TIMELINE
Since April 2009, the volunteer steering committee has devoted hundreds of hours to
developing the master plan, including the fundraising plan, discussed under “Project
Budget,” below. Phase I of the construction (the new parking lot) is scheduled to begin in
Spring 2011; Phase II (playground, park, and soccer field), in June 2011. The dedication
ceremony is set for September 2011, to kick off the school year. The goal is to have all
funds committed by February 2011 in order to complete the bidding process for Phase II.
Elliott School Park & Playground Project, Lincoln Page 7
The monthly timeline, from beginning to completion, is below:
April 2009 – July 2010: The volunteer steering committee devoted hundreds of hours to
develop the project’s master plan.
August: Continued solicitation of individuals and corporations. Hired grant writers.
September: Continued solicitation. Submitted grant applications. Began paver campaign.
October: Let bids for Phase I. Continue fundraising and grant-seeking.
November: Continue fundraising and grant-seeking.
December: Based on new funding commitments, committee will reconfirm priorities for
initial construction. Develop work bid documents. Continue fundraising.
January: Complete contractual agreements for initial elements of construction. Begin
bidding process for the remainder of the project. Continue fundraising.
February: Continue fundraising.
March: Begin Phase I construction (the parking lot). Review funds committed to date;
adjust timeline accordingly. Complete bidding process.
April: Continue Phase I.
May: Complete Phase I.
June: Begin Phase II construction (park, playground, and trail improvements).
July: Continue Phase II
August: Complete Phase II.
September: Hold dedication ceremony.
V. PROJECT BUDGET
Of the total expected project cost of about $585,000, the steering committee has raised
$346,000 (60%) as of November 1, 2010. We plan to secure the remainder through a
combination of grants, corporate gifts, and a paver campaign. The project budget
(Attachment A) shows the cost per each site improvement, including the sports field.
To summarize, of the total $585,000 project cost, Rotary Club #14 contributed a lead gift
of $100,000. The City of Lincoln pledged $104,700 ($4,700 from Parks & Recreation,
$100,000 in CDGB funds from Urban Development). Due to numerous other
commitments in the school district, Lincoln Public Schools cannot finance the entire
Elliott project; however, LPS Facilities Division has pledged $100,000 toward whatever
funding gaps remain after the fundraising campaign ends, as well as ongoing
Elliott School Park & Playground Project, Lincoln Page 8
maintenance. Lincoln’s Community Health Endowment contributed $8,000, and Elliott
Friends raised the necessary $17,000 in matching funds to construct an ADA-accessible
walking trail in the park. Gifts from corporations, family foundations, and individuals
have contributed $16,300.
Additionally, the Clark Enersen Partners has provided ongoing support and leadership to
the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools, Elliott staff and volunteers, and the steering
committee in raising funds for the project. To date the firm has donated over $18,000 in
fees toward the project.
Kinder Porter Scott Family Foundation Request
From your family foundation we specifically request support for the sports field. A gift of
$80,000 would cover the entire cost of a grass-turf playing field. As the current play
space is filled with gravel, natural grass would be an enormous improvement. A synthetic
turf field, however, is superior due to its low maintenance, durability, and year-round
utility. Because this field will be heavily used by Elliott students, youth soccer leagues,
and neighborhood families—ideally during all four seasons—the project partners are
committed to raising the extra funds needed for synthetic turf. A grant of $160,000 would
cover the entire cost of a synthetic turf field.
Although the steering committee has been unstinting in its fundraising efforts, and we are
pleased to have raised 60% of the total, our campaign has slowed
due to the recession and major community giving in 2010: Lincoln
was privileged to host the National Special Olympics, which
tapped $1 million from the giving community. A significant gift “I pledge to
from your family foundation would be a tremendous boost, purchase two
magnetizing the remaining funds to realize this important project. pavers—one in
honor of my
Funds to be Raised mother, an
To secure the remaining funds needed, the committee is Elliott alum; the
submitting requests to local corporate, family, and private other for my two
foundations and conducting a paver campaign. children, who
October kicked off the paver campaign with the goal of “selling” vibrant and
100 pavers at $250 each (minus cost of materials) for a net unique school.”
contribution of $21,000. The pavers will be engraved with the first —T.J. McDowell,
names of currently enrolled Elliott students. Teachers, staff, Executive Director,
parents, and alumni are the first focus of this campaign. Clyde Malone
Elliott School Park & Playground Project, Lincoln Page 9
VI. PROJECT LEADERSHIP
The Elliott project is spearheaded by an accomplished group of Lincoln civic leaders and
professionals with demonstrated expertise in core areas. Chaired by JoAnne D. Kissel,
Principal of The Clark Enersen Partners, the steering committee members are:
Project Design & Construction Subcommittee
Scott Wieskamp, Director, Lincoln Public Schools Facilities & Maintenance Division
JJ Yost, Planning and Construction Manager, City of Lincoln Parks & Recreation Dept.
JoAnne Kissel, Principal, The Clark Enersen Partners
Karen Nalow, Designer, The Clark Enersen Partners
Jadi Miller, Principal, Elliott Elementary School
Sharon Wherry, President, Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools
Barb Bettin, President, Lincoln YMCA
Bill Norris, Rotary Club #14, retired Finance Director, Nebraska Wesleyan University
Jim Mastera, Rotary Club #14, retired Executive Vice President, Cornhusker Bank
Roger Larson, retired General Manager, KFOR Radio; has raised $10 million for
community projects over 40 years
Elaine Hammer, Lower Platte Valley Natural Resources District Board Chair
Carma Bryan, Elliott School parent
The Clark Enersen Partners serves as the project’s design firm. With offices in Kansas
City, Missouri, and Lincoln, the company has provided superior, environmentally sound
design for more than 60 years. As the developers of the Antelope Valley Channel, of
which Elliott is a keystone, Clark Enersen employs a comprehensive, cost-effective
approach that makes strategic use of all of the partners’ contributions. For more
information, please visit the firm’s website, www.clarkenersen.com.
The steering committee will hold responsibility for evaluating the process and progress of
the overall project, in conjunction with the leadership of Lincoln Public Schools and the
City of Lincoln Parks & Recreation Department.
The construction bidding, contract letting, and the monitoring of construction of the
project will be the responsibility of the Lincoln Public Schools Facilities Division, in
conjunction with the staff of the City of Lincoln Parks & Recreation Department. We
foresee no staff changes required by the project. Both Lincoln Public School and the City
of Lincoln adhere to non-discriminatory procurement policies.
Elliott School Park & Playground Project, Lincoln Page 10
On behalf of Elliott School and the Lincoln community, the steering committee extends
sincere thanks for the Kinder Porter Scott Family Foundation’s consideration of our
proposal. While recreational and playground improvements at many Lincoln schools are
funded by parent groups, Elliott—a school where 26 languages are spoken and 90% of
families live below poverty—has no such support. Yet the school and the surrounding
neighborhoods are the most diverse and, in many ways, vibrant in Lincoln, representing
the capital city’s growing international and forward-looking character. What’s more,
Elliott is located in the heart of a rapidly developing urban public green space, “Lincoln’s
Central Park.” If left in its present blighted condition, it will be a magnet for poverty and
low achievement. If included in Lincoln’s renaissance, Elliott and the neighborhoods it
serves can become part of the next generation of leaders in our capital city.
Thank you again for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.
Elliott School Park & Playground Project, Lincoln Page 11