"It was falling apart and it only had one sliding board. It was more of a playhouse than a playground. We needed something with more bells and whistles," said Katie Neff, president of the school's parent teacher organization.
In addition to more sliding board, the new playground has climbing and exercise bars as well as a picnic table that's wheelchair accessible.
"With that, kids can have outside games and snacks," the PTO president said of the picnic table.
PTO members began planning the new playground a year ago.
"At the beginning of this school year, we got the ball rolling," she said.
After PTO members looked at a number of available playsets, they settled on one made by Playworld. Following school board approval, the PTO signed a contract to buy the playground and have it installed at a total cost of about $25,000.
"We used some of the money we accrued [from the annual Race for Education] over the past several years," Neff said. "We want to thank everyone who donated to this project. Without their help, we couldn't have done it for the kids."
Before the work could begin, the wooden replica of the Clermont had to be removed.
Bruce Bennett of Solanco's maintenance department, assisted by Jack Little, Ron Mastriania, Jeff Blantz, Jimmy Ulrich, and Dennis Kreider, removed the aging wooden boat and prepared the site. They also mulched the area once the new playground was installed.
The company originally planned to begin installing the playground at the end of April. But a warmer than normal winter allowed construction to begin in late March and wrap up earlier this month.
That was a pleasant surprise, Neff said.
"We were afraid the construction would be going on when the weather got nice and the kids wouldn't be able to go out and play," Neff said.
The work took about a week to complete. During that time, the students could not go out for recess.
During that time, the students kept close tabs on the project, watching the work from doors overlooking the play area.
"We didn't even know the work was done until the kids came home and told us," she said. "The kids can now go out and play in the good weather. It's something they can enjoy."
The project is one of several the PTO has worked on for the school.
"We did put up new nets [on the two half-court basketball area] and one new backboard," Neff said. "We're also going to repaint the map of the U.S. on the playground and put in new lines for the basketball courts."