The case for a Lawrence playground

The bridge between Ormsby and Brokaw underwent major renovations over the summer. Photo by Adam Fleischer.

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Disclaimer: This article is a work of satire

This summer, Lawrence underwent several different upgrades and construction projects. When these projects were announced, I was filled with hope at the prospect that some of my concerns with Lawrence’s accessibility issues were going to be addressed – I had visions of new wheelchair ramps, upgraded accessible doors and elevator repairs. However, only a few of these concerns were addressed this summer. But before my frustrations could take over, the sight of my favorite campus upgrade of all cleared them from my head completely. I was just overjoyed at the sight of a brand-new entryway arch.  

Conveniently located as far away from most of the campus activity as possible, the arch stands as a symbol of Lawrentian pride. I was so excited that I began to think of other ways, besides better accessibility and infrastructure updates, that we could invest our time and massive budget in order to enhance the Lawrence experience for everyone. What better way to boost student morale than installing a playground? Some might stop me here – “Why a playground? Aren’t there better and more sophisticated ways to use our money? Things we could invest in that actually perform a function for most of the student population?” Simply put, a playground is much more interactive than a decorative arch, as well as more visually appealing. Who isn’t filled with a sense of childlike wonder when they go down a slide? It could even be Viking-themed or painted blue and white. There are many benefits to playgrounds that are found for kids: they improve social and motor skills while allowing for exercise and creativity. Why not have one for us college kids? Rather than spending breaks between classes sitting indoors, we could all be swinging on swing sets and building strong interpersonal relationships on seesaws.  Although the information on the exact costs and sources of funds for some of the upgrades that occurred this summer, particularly the arch (which was a gift from a generous donor) is difficult to find, one can assume they were very costly. According to a post on the LU website, about $150,000 was raised to pave the trail behind Warch Campus Center. reports that installing a large-scale, inclusive playground could cost just around the same amount. Lawrence also has tons of available space for this installment, potential locations could include Main Hall Green, directly in front of the library for maximum foot traffic, or Ormsby Lake, so the new arch could lead Lawrentians into its colorful distraction. Perhaps it could even replace the football field; the Banta Bowl has enough space for a large playground, and maybe a skatepark as well. A playground would not only benefit current students, but it would make Lawrence stand out from other, playground-less universities, and draw in prospective students.  Clearly, a playground would be the best and most obvious choice for Lawrence’s next batch of campus upgrades as it is functional, fun and 100% financially appropriate.