After a year of fundraising, Immaculate Heart Central has finally built a playground for its intermediate school on South Massey Street.
Parents and school staff, along with 30 soldiers from the 1-87 Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division 1st Brigade, spent the overcast, drizzly day Saturday setting up the playground unit for the first phase of the project.
About 28 percent of IHC students have connections to Fort Drum.
Over the last year, IHC has pursued fundraisers and grants to generate $40,000 for the new playground unit that is geared toward fitness. Last fall, the school partnered with Davidsons Auto Group for the Drive One 4UR School car raffle and received $20,000. More recently, it won a $15,000 grant from KaBOOM! and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, gained several hundred dollars through a program at Stewarts Shops and raised more than $12,000 through an annual adult dinner dance.
We had a playground here before, but it was completely unsafe, said Administrative Assistant Stacy A. Uliano. We ended up tearing it down last year. At that point, we knew we needed a new playground.
By noon, about half of the playground unit was built. The volunteers planned to have it finished by the end of the day, weather permitting.
The Fort Drum community encompasses all the surrounding areas, said Sgt. Maj. David J. Martel. This is strictly on their time. The towns do so much for us, and its a chance to give back to them.
The new playground is going to make at least one student delighted. Laura G. Worker, parent of several students at IHC, was painting part of the play unit blue. She said her daughter Aliana M. Worker, a fifth-grader at the intermediate school, was disappointed when the playground was closed last year.
Shes hoping it will get done before the end of the school year so she can go out and play, Mrs. Worker said. She volunteered her time Saturday because she wanted to give back to IHC for being so warm to her and her military family when they moved here last year.
The second phase of the playground will include new soccer and lacrosse goals as well as a new kickball field. The school is hoping to have everything completed by spring 2013.