Educators, parents and students from Wakefield Elementary in Sherman came together Friday to officially cut the ribbon on a new set of playground equipment, much to the delight of the 330 students. The playground equipment was purchased using $28,000 that was raised by the PTA over the course of two years.


The new equipment is replacing an older playground set that had passed its useful life and was in need of replacement, officials said.


“It was a desperate need,” PTA President Lisa Jones said. “It was broken in several places and, in general, not safe.”


Jones said the project was spearheaded by former PTA President Alissa Carson, who started the efforts. Despite stepping away from her role as PTA president, Carson said it was an emotional day for her now that the project was complete.


“I think this is important because these kids deserve a nice playground,” she said. “What they were working with was not safe. I think they deserve this because they haven’t had anything like it before.”


Carson said other schools have newer equipment and other amenities, and she wanted to ensure that Wakefield had it’s share as well.


Carson was unsure how old the new equipment was, but estimated that it was at least 15 years old based on the other equipment in the playground. In addition to the playground equipment itself, Carson said the funds would pay for painting on nearby pavement to create spaces for yoga and other exercises.


Principal Eartha Linson said the playground equipment will be useful in helping the students concentrate during their studies. Starting last year, the school started offering two recess periods during the day to help break up the work and provide additional time for the students to play.


“This equipment is important because it gives the students a chance for free play two times each day,” she said.


Jones said the PTA and students conducted fundraisers for the project, and solicited donations from area groups, businesses and individuals.


Representatives with Emerson Process Management were among those in attendance during Friday’s ribbon cutting. Dusty Payne, representing the company, said the decision to support the project ultimately came down to supporting and helping the kids.


“We get requests like this every day, so we try to spread it around as much as we can,” Payne said.