The Maryland Elementary School community has raised more than half of the money it needs to complete playground improvements.

The Maryland Elementary School community has raised more than half of the money it needs to complete playground improvements.

The effort is being spearheaded by the parent-teacher organization, with parents Marlee Snowdon and Terri Stevens serving as co-chairs.

Snowdon said the group has raised $130,000. The project has three priority levels that would cost approximately $250,000.

The Adams Legacy Foundation gave the school a $50,000 grant to fund renovations. The foundation will donate an additional $50,000 if the community can match that amount. The school has until May 31 to match the grant money.

"Every dollar we earn, the foundation will match up to $50,000" Snowdon said.

Principal Jon Hood said the playground equipment is 30 years old. Current safety codes and Jarod's Law mandated the improvements.

"You have some compliance rules that ask you to look at several things in the school system," Hood said.

Jarod's Law monitors fall zones from swings, climbing structure platforms and distance of bars on equipment, among other things.

Snowdon said a November letter-writing campaign raised $1,200 and a January student talent show and silent auction raised $4,000.

"The kids had so much fun," she said. "It was one of the fundraising highlights so far."

Students held a penny war the week of Jan. 16. There also was a jewelry-making workshop on Jan. 22 with Maryland art specialist Lisa Viney.

There are three priority levels for the playground. The safety violations will be addressed first. Snowdon said the main structure will be replaced and a rubberized surface installed on a portion of the playground. First priority projects will cost $150,000.

Second priority projects include installing a walking path to offer students an alternative form of exercise, renovating the baseball field and resurfacing black top. Level three priority projects include a learning garden, amphitheater and entranceway beautification.

For more information or to make a donation, contact Snowdon at marlee@columbus.rr.com.