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Cooper Academy Unveils New STEAM Playground Sponsored by Fluor
Cooper Academy recently concluded student orientation with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) playground sponsored by Fluor. Guest speakers included Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. David Ross Renfrow, Director of North Carolina State Parks and Recreation Dwayne Patterson, Fluor Construction Director Bailey Forrest, Cooper Academy Principal Jocell Flores and more.
Fluor is providing engineering, procurement, construction and construction management, commissioning and pre-qualification for Novo Nordisk’s new Diabetes Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (DAPI) manufacturing facility in Clayton, North Carolina. The facility is expected to be operational in 2020.
Nearly 400 Cooper Academy students, families and staff; Fluor, Novo Nordisk and contractor employees; local and state officials; community members; and media attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony. They enjoyed snow cones and rocket crew stickers and watched a video of the demolition and installation of the playground.
Led by Fluor, the project team raised $136,000 in cash donations – and nearly $40,000 of in-kind donations – for demolition, site grading and drainage, new playground equipment, boarder, fencing, sod, rubber mulch and sand. Over the summer, more than 135 people on the project team served alongside Cooper Academy staff and volunteered more than 1,500 hours on the playground.
“It’s so special what you are doing here today,” Patterson said. “So many times when I come to speak it’s because the state had to contribute money but you’ve done a great thing here. You pulled yourself up and (raised the funds for a new playground) with Novo Nordisk and Fluor.”
After Principal Flores and the guest speakers cut the ribbon, students stormed the playground to try out the new state-of-the-art equipment.
The nearly 12,000-square-foot, kindergarten through second grade playground area was designed by Barrs Recreation and features Burke equipment. In addition to a rocket-shaped main structure and numerous interactive stations, a large sand pit with fossils and diggers was installed and the Movers & Makers Club’s final project was set in place. Fourth and fifth grade girls in the after-school club designed and built a play structure with Fluor’s supervision.
Since April 2017, Fluor has partnered with Cooper Academy to inspire the future generation of constructors.
“Our partnership with Cooper Academy has been an outstanding success,” said Forrest. “It was a lot of fun to be a partner in building for the future of students. Cooper Academy will have as much fun, and more, using the STEAM playground to build the future of their children. I couldn’t be more proud of the project team, their enthusiasm to serve and the impact we are making in our community.”
From left: Fluor Construction Director Bailey Forrest, Novo Nordisk Communications Lead Amy Bryson, Fluor Project Coordinator Amber Wilson, Cooper Academy Principal Jocell Flores, Cooper Academy PTA President Heather Moser, Director of North Carolina Parks and Recreation Dwayne Patterson, Cooper Academy Vice Principal Tami Poland, Fluor Contract Director Cindy Moorhead and Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow cut the ribbon on the new playground.
Fluor, Novo Nordisk and contractors raised $176,000 in cash and in-kind donations for the new playground.