Students and staff at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School were joined by elected officials and nearby Lemon Creek neighbors Thursday morning to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new playground.
The estimated $1.7 million covered play area was approved by voters in October and is slated to be finished in September. Part of the cost will be reimbursed by the state.
The school is the only one in the district without a covered play area.
"I think it will be cool to be able to play outside but not get soaking wet," said sixth-grader Megan Seitz.
Principal Barb Mecum said the facility wouldn't be limited to games during classroom breaks, but for outdoor art, science and writing classes as well. Neighbors who supported the project also said local kids need a place to play games out of the rain when school is out.
The playground will have a full-sized basketball court, seating, lighting, a camera security system and a translucent roof.
Math teacher and basketball coach Jeannie Drapeaux said the new court would allow two additional teams to play during practice.
Trees had already been cleared Thursday on the site on a short hill adjacent to the baseball field.
"I hope you children will keep an eye on it; I hope you take good care of it," neighbor Pat Owen told the students during a short ceremony.
Owen worked tirelessly for years to get the playground approved, Mecum said.