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Playground Pennies Student Donations Add Up
Students at Mesa Verde Elementary School are bringing in spare change and taking on an active role in providing playground equipment for their new school.

General playground equipment and benches are needed for the Kindergarten play area as well as the regular playground. Mesa Verde Principal Kim Newton said that the cost will be in the neighborhood of $70,000 for the equipment and installation.

The 'Pennies For Playground Equipment' campaign was thought up by the school's Parent Teacher Association to help bring in some extra money to offset those costs.

"It's something to help," said Mesa Verde PTA member Marcy Williams. "It's exciting for (the students) ... My daughter emptied out her piggy bank."

Each classroom has its own shiny silver, labeled can for students to drop in their dollars and cents. The classes are competing to see which one will collect the most money. The winning class gets an ice cream party sponsored by the PTA and an extra recess.

"The kids are working at home to raise money to bring in," added Newton.

She said that although the students have balls and other types of playground equipment, right now there are no slides or playground apparatuses for them to play on during recess. Newton said that between district contributions and the PTA, they're hoping to get the equipment purchased and installed this summer, so they will be ready for students at the start of the 2010-2011 school year.

Newton also said that they are working on obtaining grants to purchase more books for the library.

Mesa Verde opened with a formal ribbon cutting on Monday, Jan. 11, welcoming students to the new campus at Mesa Drive and Eleanor Avenue, which is actually outside city limits but in the northeastern section of the school district. The $18.3 million facility was funded primarily through a local school bond, was designed by Darden Architects of Fresno and built by C. T. Brayton & Sons of Escalon.

The school features a 7,000 square foot administration and library building, a 20,000 square foot eight-classroom building, a 10,000 square foot six-classroom building and a 3,400 square foot facility for kindergarten at the east end of the campus.