Loyd Star students enjoying new playground facilities

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 27, 2006

Six-year-old Ashlin Locke doesn’t quite know what to call therainbow-colored, caterpillar-like structure she climbs on. But sheand her peers at Loyd Star Elementary are certain that their newplayground is a big improvement.

“I think it’s wonderful, ’cause it’s fun and it has thatcaterpillar thing,” Locke said.

The new playground was built following erosion concerns aboutthe school’s old play area.

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“Our old playground was washing away,” said Celeste Cade, LoydStar Elementary secretary and former PTA member. “The location wasa problem, even the equipment was wearing out. That’s when westarted raising funds.”

Discussions began last August in an effort to replace oldequipment with creative, state of the art, recreationalstructures.

The new playground is not of the typical monkey-bar andmerry-go-round ilk. The playground features unique climbing,sliding, spiraling structures decked out in Loyd Star red andblack.

Kids have many choices of activities including a climbing wall,three long slides, smaller slides for youngsters, and many othercontraptions rarely seen on rural school playgrounds.

The only trouble is, no one really knows what to call them. Thatreally didn’t seem to matter to the students.

“I don’t know what anything is called. We just play on it,” saidWill Watts, a six-year-old Loyd Star first grader.

The playground project required hard work on everyone’spart.

After location and cost estimates were established, fund raisingbegan. No one really believed the playground would be up andrunning so quickly.

“The kids just got busy,” said Cade.

Fund-raising started Nov. 14 and finished shortly after theChristmas holidays. Students sold $28,000 in decorative candles,contributing a total of $14,000 in profit to the project.

“The kids did most of the work,” said Tanya Smith, Loyd Star PTAtreasurer.

Students were given incentives. Students selling $300 earned alimousine ride and the top three sellers received gift cards forWal-Mart.

“We had a lot of parental support and the PTA jumped in andhelped out,” said John Smith, Loyd Star alumnus and owner of RebelTesters.

Smith, like many other alumni, helped out in whatever ways theycould.

Smith contributed laborers and equipment from his company toremove the antiquated playground equipment in preparation for thenew. Swings were salvaged from the old site and moved to the newlocation about 50 yards away.

Construction began in early February and finished Valentine’sDay. The finished product is enjoyed by students, faculty, andstaff.

“I’m proud of it,” said Loyd Star Elementary Principal RobinGreer. “It’s just a shining star for us out here.”