Staff Writer

PIERPONT TOWNSHIP -- Students at Pierpont Elementary have new playground equipment thanks to the Plymouth Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and the student council.

On Monday, students played on the equipment for the first time during recess. This is the first time the school has gotten new playground equipment in more than nine years, said Jessica Hall, a PTO member.

The last weekend in April, PTO members and volunteers assembled the new equipment. This past weekend, the equipment was installed after new gravel was hauled in and the area excavated by volunteers, Hall said.

Robin Holden, chairwoman of the PTO's playground committee, organized the assembly and installation of the equipment, she said.

The money for the equipment was raised by the PTO and the student council. The PTO raised about $6,100, and the student council raised about $600, she said.

The PTO raises money to fund the biennial fifth and sixth-grade field trips; however, it decided also to do a project for the entire student body.

"Even though all the students at the school will go on the field trip when they are in either (the) fifth or sixth grade, we wanted to do something for all the students," she said.

The new equipment includes a dome-shaped climbing structure; a new swing set to replace the old swing set, which was estimated to be about 30 years old; a new slide; a six-seat teeter-totter; and another climbing structure called "Charlotte the Spider."

The PTO has been working on raising money for the project for about four years, Hall said. The PTO hopes to continue to add new equipment to the playground and has drawn up a five-year plan that includes a new wooden or plastic playground structure, a new basketball backboard and creation of a basketball court. The cost of the equipment is estimated at about $19,000, Hall said.

"This is a school playground but also the community playground," she said.

Other plans include park-type benches and picnic tables.

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