More than a year after the May 20 tornado wiped out Plaza Towers Elementary School, volunteers showed up Friday to build a brand-new playground. The group put it together all in one day and had some MVP power for the ribbon-cutting.
A team of 225 people from Moore schools, Nike and KaBOOM! assembled monkey bars, swings and slides and even a zip-line. The volunteers had no problem getting their hands dirty.
“I liked the fact that we get to have fun playing, going and doing this playground and that I just get to paint, because I usually don’t paint at home," 8-year-old Scarlet Simpson, who will be a third grader at Plaza Towers, said.
The playground has special meaning for former Plaza Towers principal Amy Simpson, who will never forget the day she lost seven students in the May 20 tornado.
“It was hard, it was a struggle, and this whole last year, we shared a playground with Central Elementary, and they were very kind to allow us to be there and to share their space, but it's good to have your own,” Simpson said.
“I think just the relief that we’re back home, that Plaza Towers is back on the original site with new items to explore and different ways to learn,” Simpson added.
Each name of the seven victims is painted on a special square on the playground. The volunteers were surprised by Kevin Durant as he shared some uplifting words.
"I remember how all this looked 14 months ago, but today, we bounce back, our community we always, if we fall down, we get back up again," Durant said.
Governor Mary Fallin says she was impressed by the unique architecture.
"And what’s so fun about it is that the children actually designed it themselves, and I like that they put the Thunder colors in here, the blue and the orange, and to have the MVP Kevin Durant here is great for the community as well," Fallin said.
After six hours of hard work, the ribbon was finally cut on the new playground, but it will still take another three days for the playground to be inspected before the kids can play on it.
Plaza Towers opens for the first day of school on Aug. 19.