Marion sports new and improved playground

October 4, 2018

By Aaron Michell

For much of the last two decades, the playground at Marion Elementary school has just kind of been there.

Broken equipment cordoned off. Slides that couldn’t be used. Basketball hoops with no nets.

Not only were kids beginning to find themselves a bit bored with the playground, but it was becoming a safety issue.
Not anymore.

Thanks to an effort spearheaded by the Marion PTO, along with generous donations from the Osceola Community Foundation, Wal-Mart, and other local businesses and individuals, the playground has a completely new look.

New features include an obstacle course play structure, an outdoor classroom, a landscaped sound garden, as well as a new sandbox, football target, and tetherball.

Repairs to the climbing horse, castle slide, and play structures, as well as a playground-wide paint job and makeover, have kids – and parents – once again feeling proud of their playground.

The playground has a completely new look, thanks to the Marion PTO and generous donations from other local businesses and individuals.

The playground has a completely new look, thanks to the Marion PTO and generous donations from other local businesses and individuals.

“The kids have been so excited,” said PTO President Jessica Eising. “Each time they’d come out to recess and get excited about having something new or improved to use.”

The Craggy Obstacle Course Play Structure, just installed this past week, has been a huge hit.

“They love it.” Eising said.

In addition to the funds donated by the OCCF and Wal-Mart, the upgraded playground was made possible through fundraising events such as the school wide penny war – which raised $2800 – and the annual Old Fashioned Days’ Cornhole Tournament – which brought in 49 teams in 2018.

Likewise, many locals donated their time, money, and energy in order to see the project completed.

“Wendal Schwab helped us with quite a bit of little odds and ends,” Eising said. “He was able to get some telephone poles donated for the horse, which was in really rough shape. He was able to resurrect it and repaint it so we could keep it.”
“It was driven by the PTO group, but this was a community project,” Eising said. “There was a lot of time and energy donated by a lot of individuals to make this all possible.”

While the kids are currently enjoying their new and improved equipment, there’s still more work to be done. Future projects include soccer fields, football goal posts, along with some additional repairs, landscaping, and plantings.
10-5-18 Playground Craggy obstacle course play structure
Because at the end of the day, according to Eising, having a good experience on the playground is about more than just playing around.

“We have a safe, fun area for our students to help build social skills, confidence and self-esteem.” 

Or as Mr. Rogers [of the TV show] says, which has been repeated on the PTO brochure: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.”

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