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Cooper Academy unveils new $176K STEAM Playground

Ribbon Cutting Cooper Academy and Fluor Corporation unveiled the school’s new $176,000 STEAM Playground to students and the community on Aug. 21.

The nearly 12,000 square foot kindergarten through second grade playground area was designed by Barrs Recreation and features state-of-the-art Burke equipment. The playground features a rocket-shaped main structure, numerous interactive stations, and a large sand pit with fossils and diggers. Members of the schools Movers and Makers Club were able to help design and built part of the play structure with Fluor’s supervision.

More than 100 people on the Novo Nordisk Diabetes Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (DAPI) US Project team volunteered 1,150 hours over the course of four days to install the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) Playground at Cooper Academy.

“Despite scorching heat and a flash flood warning, smiles never left the volunteers’ faces,” said Fluor Project Controls Specialist Hunter Stofan, who chaired the playground project along with Work Package Owner Mike Kutcher. “The teamwork and dedication displayed by the volunteers was incredible. Not only are we improving the lives of more than 700 students at Cooper Academy, but we have also made lasting relationships that will carry over into the project and make us all more successful.”

Led by Fluor Contracts Director Cindy Moorhead and Project Coordinator Amber Wilson, Fluor raised $136,000 in cash donations – and nearly $40,000 worth of in-kind donations – for demolition, site grading and drainage, new playground equipment, boarder, fencing, sod, rubber mulch and sand. The Cooper Academy PTA contributed an additional $14,000.

“I am blown away by what this team accomplished in just four days. Their caring hearts just show through everything they do,” Cooper Academy Principal Jocell Flores said. “We can't wait to officially unveil the playground to the entire school at the end of our Open House on Aug. 21. The students’ reactions are going to be priceless!”

The Fluor-Cooper partnership is the perfect example of how our employees make an impact wherever we have operations or projects – not only through client projects but also through community engagement, employee volunteerism and philanthropy.

“I’m extremely proud of what the team has been able to do for the community,” said Juan G. Hernandez, Fluor Life Sciences & Advanced Manufacturing president. “It is all about leaving a legacy and giving back in the places and regions in which we work.”