Squeals of joy and curiosity filled Marietta Elementary School Wednesday as a visitor loomed on the horizon of the hill.
“Pardon the interruption Marietta Elementary School, and teachers I’m sorry to interrupt learning,” rang Principal Brittany Schob’s voice over the intercom. “Today when you go out to recess you will need to be very careful because there is a huge truck… that’s right on the line of where the crossing walk is.”
That semi-trailer, with its red truck at the head, marked the arrival of the long-awaited playground for MES.
To the right, the track and football field.
To the left, a forklift crawling across the grass.
Interact with an overhead view of these upgrades at the bottom of this story.
“Just this morning we were notified that it was bringing our playground,” explained Schob last week. “You get to watch the first playground ever on the top of this hill being built. So you get to watch history.”
Third-grade students were the first to see the pieces unloaded, lining the fence of the track with eyes peeled for each piece.
“Look, a slide!” shouted 8-year-old Caden Romine arms draped over the fenceline.
“Woah, that’s huge,” pointed 8-year-old Caden Oliver.
The pair were curious how the installers would know where to place each piece, and what it would take to build history.
Meanwhile, Schob and Transportation and Facilities Manager Darrell Prim looked over the schematic, confirming the placement of each piece between new French drains.
“We’re unloading today, then they’ll start laying the pieces out,” explained Prim. “They’ll get out here with the diagram and mark where all the holes and posts are going to be in the ground.”
Those posts, Prim explained, will anchor the equipment into the ground for the safety of each Tiger climbing later this Spring.
“Once they get that, then they’ll pick a point of where they’re going to start and begin putting together the pieces, they’ll begin building,” Prim continued.
With the district consolidation, Marietta City Schools brought third through fifth-grade students onto the hill above North Seventh Street this school year.
“Our students and staff have persevered from the beginning of this school year,” recalled Schob. “Adjusting with transportation, a new secure entrance, new teachers, new classrooms. Today just feels like Christmas.”
That holiday suspense has built throughout the community this school year with families echoing the questions of their children.
“Every big truck that came through our drive, our kids have asked if that’s our playground,” explained Schob. “I am so proud of our kids. Despite not having a playground for more than 100 school days this year, they've built friendships, been creative and stayed active outside.”
The coronavirus pandemic made promising a date difficult.
“We are not immune to the delays experienced in manufacturing and shipping throughout this pandemic, but we are ecstatic these are here,” reflected Superintendent Will Hampton. “There’s nothing more satisfying than watching kids’ joy.”
With a few more steps within the installation window, a date for climbing is not yet set.
“We want our community, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters to be able to come and share in the celebration of the first playground on our hill,” explained Schob.
A grand opening ceremony will be announced this Spring.
Check out a bird's eye view of recent improvements to Marietta Elementary School below