David Barton Elementary students stampeded to climb, slide and hang from the new playground equipment when they first saw it, Principal Brett Frerking said.

“All this is for the kids,” he said. “That’s why we do this.”

The new playground has been in the works for a few years, but finding money for the $50,000 was a major hurdle. The David Barton PTA parents stepped in, gathering $26,000 in donations from the community and securing a $24,000 state grant.

“It’s just amazing,” Frerking said. “You can’t ask for better community support than that.”

Emily Rapp was the chair of the PTA fundraising committee, and she said it only took about a month to obtain the funds after a big fundraising push last year. They just had to wait for the summer to install it without students around. Since the schools don’t have a lot of construction equipment, the city leveled out the ground for the playground, and even came back after a heavy rain to level it again, Frerking said.

Rapp applied for a grant from the Department of Natural Resources to pay for the $24,000 surface, which is made of 95 percent recycled rubber, she said. She has a child at David Barton now, and another who will be there next year. She wanted to make sure they and other children had a fun and safe place to play at school, she said.

Frerking hopes the school can secure more grants to resurface the wood chips on the rest of the playground, he said. The next big outdoor project will probably be resurfacing the asphalt basketball courts, he said. He’d also like to put together an outdoor classroom, a project he thinks area Boy Scouts might take on, he said.

bcrowley@gatehousemedia.com