MCC gets playground
SLAYTON -- Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to build a playground. From the fund raising to the actual building process, the community of Slayton and others from around Murray County worked together to raise the f...
SLAYTON -- Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to build a playground.
From the fund raising to the actual building process, the community of Slayton and others from around Murray County worked together to raise the funds for a new playground, then construct the equipment at the Murray County Central (MCC) High School site.
On Saturday morning, volunteers headed out to the site behind the school and began work. A backhoe and a skid steer dug holes and moved dirt, and the pieces of the playground equipment were laid out on the ground and organized.
The sound of the backhoe was soon drowned out by the sound of laughter, suggestions and questions.
"Hey, does anyone have a 9/16 socket around here?" one person yelled, only to have one slapped into his hand a moment later.
Teachers and their spouses, former students, parents and community members all teamed together to get the work done.
"We sent letters to the parents of the kindergarten and first-grade students," MCC Elementary Principal Sally Berg said. "And some area restaurants are donating food for dinner."
At MCC, the preschool, kindergarten and first-grade classrooms are in a wing of the high school, while the second- through sixth-grade students attend West Elementary, located several blocks away. The playground equipment at the high school site was old, and the paraprofessionals who supervise the children at play were concerned that the old equipment was too hot, too cold or slippery.
A playground committee got together in April and started on a series of fund-raisers for the money needed for new equipment. It was originally hoped that the first half of the funds needed -- approximately $18,000 -- could be raised in 2006 and the remainder in 2007.
The response to the fund raising was much better than the committee could have hoped. More than $29,000 was raised in four months.
"People really started stepping forward," Berg said. "They were coming in with memorials. Bible study groups gave money. Vacation Bible School groups gave money."
Before school let out for the 2005-2006 school year, students sold magazine subscriptions. Popcorn and cookies were sold to students. There was a coin war between classes to see who could raise the most money.
Kindergarten students, teachers and paraprofessionals made and raffled off three quilts. And, in almost every business in town, a little bucket with a cover and coin slot could be found, each covered in a paper label that asked for help with the playground funding. Almost $1,500 was raised during the Murray County Fair at the MCC dunk tank, something Berg and other staff members took a turn being the "dunkees" for.
"It is unbelievable to be able to raise almost $30,000 in four months," Superintendent/High School Principal Steve Jones said. "It speaks very highly of the people in this community and their commitment to the school."
Instead of ordering half of the equipment this year, the entire structure was ordered, along with some supplemental pieces, which will be added at a later date.
The committee is still approximately $4,300 from its total goal, Berg said. The wood fiber and pads to go under the swings and slides still need to be paid for. Additional equipment will be added as funds are raised.
The committee also hopes to add fitness equipment that can be used by physical education classes and more equipment that is handicap accessible.