Arp Elementary gets long awaited playground - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Arp Elementary gets long awaited playground


Arp Elementary School entered a national competition to win a new playground in October. Thanks to East Texans' votes, they quickly moved to number three, but lost the competition.

When American State Bank heard the bad news, they donated $30,000 to the Arp playground fund. The school  received another $24,000 through fundraising and private donations.

On Thursday, dozens and dozens of Arp elementary school students lined the sidewalk as they waited for the big debut of their brand new playground.

"Cut the ribbon, cut the ribbon," they chanted as those who helped make the playground a possibility cut the red ribbon wrapped around their new playground.

The structure is a big hit with the kids and even the teachers who said they have needed the playground for years.

"Five years ago they tore down the old playground to make room for the new gymnasium," said Parnell.

Arp students were left with a big, empty lot for recess time. They were supplied with balls and jump ropes, but no structure to play on, until now.

"We got a playground!" yelled a group of fifth-graders with grins on their faces.

The students already have their favorite pieces of equipment and have even named them.

The most popular thing on the playground? Something the kids are calling the "tornado."

"It spins around really fast," explained one fifth-grader.

Another popular answer? The swing set.

It is a structure that is keeping both kids and adults happy.

"As a teacher's thinking, it gets them using their gross motor skills and their fine motor skills and using both sides of their brain and both sides of their body," Parnell explained.

Quite the upgrade from playing with, "pretty much dirt and sticks," as described as one student.

After a lot of hard work, the pay off? Seeing these kids smile.

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