After years of planning and anticipation, a new play complex has been installed at Westminster Avenue Elementary School’s Kindergarten Yard in Venice, thanks to the Abbot Kinney District Association (AKDA) and Los Angeles Unified School District project manager Scott McGlohan.

The multilevel complex, surrounded by kid-friendly surface material, includes slides, balconies, a bridge, a lemonade-stand-style counter, a dining area, truck and plane dashboard setups with steering wheels to turn and a telephone tube.

A new tricycle path and other games will be painted on the remaining areas of asphalt.

The project was funded by a $25,000 Abbot Kinney District Association donation presented to the school at the September 2004 Abbot Kinney Festival.

The rainy winter weather had delayed the final work on the project, and the complex had not yet been opened, so the dedication was held in the school’s auditorium Tuesday, January 8th.

Many people had ongoing roles in the realization of this goal for the Venice community, according to officials.

Special honorees included Southern District director Arturo Pina, who awarded certificates to representatives of the Abbot Kinney District Association, Bunny Lua, Sandor Caplan, Stephan Kline and former president Elisa James, all of whom worked on the project.

The kindergarten class of 2008 — the first to enjoy the new equipment — performed poems and songs and showed the crowd of about 100 parents, teachers, Westminster Avenue Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) representatives and well-wishers how enthusiastic they are about the new playground.

The various aspects of the play complex were displayed in a PowerPoint Presentation created by Westminster Avenue Elementary School Computer Science and Math Magnet coordinator Todd Lesner.

“The creative play potential of the new equipment is, I’m sure, even beyond our adult imaginations,” said principal Betty Coleman during a walking tour of the actual construction site.

“It’s going to be fascinating to watch what my kindergartners come up with while using the new playground,” said teacher Nan Eichelberger. “I’m looking forward to blending what the students do at playtime with the development of oral English language during class time.”

Westminster Avenue Elementary School is a Title 1 kindergarten-through-fifth-grade school located at 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice.

Information, (310) 392-3041.