PEARL RIVER COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Students who attend Pearl River Central Upper Elementary School in Carriere are in for a big surprise when they return to the campus in a couple of weeks. It's $50,000 worth of playground equipment leaders in Pearl River County say the school badly needed.
The hammers were swinging, screw drivers turning and heavy equipment maneuvering, all for a common cause to build a new playground.
"We're very excited that the students are going to have a quality playground. It's going to provide opportunities that they had not had in the past," said Darlene Hall, Principal of Pearl River Central Upper Elementary School.
The old playground on campus had been there for more than 30 years and only offered the 750 students who attend the school a swing set experience.
"We knew our children needed more than that," said teacher Stephanie Morris.
"Our prior playground, we had some drainage issues and it just wasn't adequate," explained Hall.
The new $50,000 playground includes a rock climb, a dome walk and plenty of winding slides.
"That's something the students at Upper Elementary have never had are slides on their playground. We talked and laughed about this being Christmas in July as we unwrapped things," said Kimberly Alford, the school district's co-wellness coordinator.
The gift for the students came from the KaBOOM Foundation and other donors. KaBOOM awarded the school a $15,000 grant. Science teacher Stephanie Morris applied for the money.
"Because play is important for our students, their physical development as well as their academic success," said Morris.
The volunteers who braved the heat to donate their time to the community build know it's an investment in children.
"It's pretty awesome," said Gavin Garza.
The fifth grade student can hardly wait to try the new equipment out.
"Because it's way better than the other playground," Gavin said.
Other donors contributing to the playground included the school's PTO, International Paper Company in Bogalusa and the Pearl River County School District.
The playground will be ready for students to use when they return to the campus. Aug. 6.