Volunteers are needed to help build a playground at the Parkersburg Elementary School.
Diane Manifold is coordinating the effort and says much of the old playground equipment was destroyed in the May 2008 tornado that leveled much of the town in northeast Iowa.
Other playground had to be removed to make room for portable classrooms, as elementary students from Aplington were moved to Parkersburg.
“Between what was destroyed by the tornado and what had to come down for purposes of housing the kids, we probably lost 90-percent of our equipment,” Manifold said. The additional, portable classrooms were needed because the high school in Parkersburg was destroyed.
During the last school year, high school students attended classes in the Aplington elementary building. A new high school will open this fall. Volunteers will build the new playground between August 5th and 10th. Manifold says they’ll take all the help that can get.
“Just about anybody can help out, there’s something for everyone,” Manifold said. The 200-plus students that attended Parkersburg Elementary this past school year had very little equipment to play on outside the school.
“The kids just basically ran around, the ground is just beat to death from so many kids playing. They just didn’t have anything to do. It was really hard to keep the kids entertained at recess with the lack of any kind of equipment,” Manifold said. “So, they are going to be really surprised when they come back at the beginning of the school year and see what they have to play on.”
This is the third volunteer playground rebuilding project in Parkersburg. Combined, the projects cost nearly $500,000. Much of the playground equipment was purchased through local fund-raising efforts and a matching grant from the Miracle Recreation Equipment Company based in Missouri. This third playground is additionally funded by the Aplington-Parkersburg School District.