Elmore City-Pernell school officials weren’t playing around when it comes to a grant that will bring something new to the local middle school.
Recently approved is a $34,300 federal grant with most of it going to build a playground for the ECP school housing sixth through eighth grade.
For middle school Principal Angela Doss that’s a big deal since the school she oversees has never really had a playground before.
“The middle school is still fairly new, and this will be something for the older kids,” Doss says. “My kids stand out front right now. They don’t have a playground to go to.
“I firmly believe these kids getting out for plenty of physical activity reflects on their academics.
“I’m also hoping this playground will be a place where kids can go and shoot hoops in the evening. I want it to be a place for the whole community.”
With most of the money going for a playground, about $7,000 of it will be new instruments for the Badger band.
As for the grant, Doss started planning for this about three years ago. She soon learned it was going to be way more expensive that originally thought.
“There was just no money at first, so we had to start saving and doing fundraisers.”
That meant bringing in students and the community itself to slowly raise enough money for the match needed to acquire the grant.
The total project cost comes to more than $45,800 as the middle school’s activity fund and ECP Band Boosters stepped in to contribute 25 percent.
Also helping out is the Pauls Valley National Bank of Elmore, which donated $2,400 for seed money to go toward the future playground.
Additional monies have also been raised by a variety of fundraisers, led by the students themselves, over the past few years.
“It has been a long process, so I want to say thank you to everyone who’s helped,” Doss said.
“I appreciate the patience of parents and kids as we raised money. We have kids in high school now who have helped raise money to make this happen.”
The high school where those older students are now attending also plays a part in plans for the new middle school playground.
Currently a new high school is being constructed, which means those students are temporarily housed in portable buildings.
“We can’t begin construction on the playground until those portable buildings can be moved,” Doss adds.
The new band instruments coming from the grant will be purchased as soon as the funds are released.
Grants like this one are things Doss believes educators should be seeking out as a way to supplement the resources available for local students.
“As school districts we need to take advantage of the grants out there,” she said.
“It takes a lot of time to write grants, but we should try and take advantage of them. As educators we need to max out the opportunities for our students.”