Students, community cut ribbon on new playground at Weller Elementary School in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Kids at one Springfield elementary school have a brand new playground after raising money for it in the last year.

Students, staff and community members all gathered Friday morning for the ribbon-cutting.

The project started a couple of years ago when Weller Elementary School's principal started looking into getting soccer goals for the playground. This school has students from five different continents, some who don't speak any English yet, so the universal language of play is an important one. The principal thought soccer goals would be beneficial for those refugee kids. It all evolved into raising money for this new playground, worth about $220,000.

Matching grants and fundraising made it all possible. There have been penny drives, bake sales, and one second grader named Sylvia, gave her life savings of $120 toward the playground. She got to help cut the ribbon this morning. Weller's principal says it's a dream come true, and something they really needed.

"Our swings were probably from the 1950s," said Dr. Rebecca Donaldson, Weller Elementary principal. "And we had very few play structures. And we just needed a place for kids to play."

The playground will not only benefit the school. It's also open it to the community in the evenings and on the weekends. School staff believe families will enjoy the Weller playground as a safe place for the kids to spend time outdoors.