BREEZY POINT -- It rained all day, but the weather didn't dampen the enthusiasm of Pequot Lakes area parents and other volunteers who spent Saturday working in the downpour to build a playground.
Thanks to those 15 to 17 dedicated, but drenched, volunteers, Pequot Lakes students will have a playground to explore after they're moved to Eagle View Elementary School in Breezy Point during the winter holiday break.
The equipment cost $50,000, with $10,000 donated by the PTA.
The 100-foot by 60-foot play area includes 21 elevated components, 14 ground level events and other activities for children, said Don Lenzen, Pequot Lakes Elementary School principal.
Don Lenzen, principal of Pequot Lakes Elementary School, walked among the rows of posts while he and a group of parents helped construct the new elementary school's playground equipment Saturday.
Volunteers returned Sunday to install the swing sets and to level and tighten the equipment. Monday, a Sentence to Serve crew helped to fill the post holes with concrete. The playground area will be fenced and unavailable for use until after students and staff members move into the elementary school, scheduled during the winter holiday break.
While Lenzen told parents they could leave if they wanted Saturday, they all stayed until the playground was complete.
"They didn't stop. People were soaked to the bone," said Ivanna Buchite, school volunteer coordinator. "Some were smart enough to have rain gear in the car and the rest of us sent out emergency signals to our family to bring us some dry clothes. It was a great success. We just hung in there and got it done."
Volunteers unpacked the palettes of playground equipment and spread them out onto the sand. A company representative helped them piece the large puzzle together Saturday.
Angie LaVigne, Breezy Point, carried a post for the new playground equipment at Eagle View Elementary School in Breezy Point.
Angie LaVigne, Breezy Point, said she knew very little about construction, but wanted to help build the playground. She has four daughters.
"I guess I just want to get to know people and help out for the kids," said LaVigne. "It's a lot of stuff to put together."
Jodi Malecha said she and her husband, Robert, wanted to help out for their daughter, Megan, who is a first-grader at Pequot Lakes Elementary School.
"She was excited her daddy was going to help build her playground," said Jodi Malecha. "She wanted to be out here and help. She cried. She said she could put the slide together."
Skeeter Carkhuff and Joe Dotty worked Saturday morning putting together a tunnel. They didn't have any directions, but said they were "winging" it.
"We'll make it so we think it's fun," said Carkhuff with a smile.
Superintendent Jim Oraskovich said the school's roof was expected to be completed this week. The gym is now being painted and windows are being installed in several sections of the facility.
"You look at it now, it looks like there's a lot to be done," said Oraskovich. "But we've got 100 guys working there now."
Lenzen said by Nov. 10 they should have an idea of whether school construction is on track and whether they can move into the building during the winter break.
Oraskovich said that for now, the current playground will remain at its current location because so many children living in Pequot Lakes use the playground after school.
"It's been a community playground," said Oraskovich. "We plan to leave it there for now."
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