That's thanks to recent funding from American State Bank and bank board chairman Brandon Steele.
During a school gathering Wednesday, Steele presented a check from the bank for $30,000. Steele and his wife also gave an additional $20,000 toward the project.
Arp Elementary School PTO officer Karen Maxwell called the check presentation “overwhelming.”
“The children were screaming. The teachers were crying. It was a very emotional time. They're just ready to have something fun to be able to go out there to play on,” she said.
Steele noted that the bank's heritage is in Arp, and that parents and others with the school are part of the community around the bank.
Therefore, he said it feels a responsibility and loyalty to those customers “who have effectively made this bank what it is today.”
“We're a community bank … Our job is to support our community and look for opportunities where we can help people, and for us to believe in our hearts if we help those people they will help with the growth of our bank,” he said.
Steele said their hearts were also “a little bit pricked” by the situation and felt like students, parents and teachers worked hard to try to raise money for the playground.
Arp Elementary School late last year entered The Clorox Co.'s Power A Bright Future Program contest to help raise money for playground renovation.
At the time, Ms. Maxwell said the elementary school had a larger playground for older children, but it was taken down to make room for a new gym. The current playground is only for prekindergarten through first grade.
companies and trying to get the playground up as fast as they can. She said it possibly could be ready before school lets out for the summer.
“Our school is all on board and ready to go,” she said.
PTO president Patricia Parnell has said the students need something to play on that's more stationary and up-to-date.
Arp Elementary asked the public to cast votes in support of it, winning up to $50,000 from the Power A Bright Future Program. The school, which competed against about 500 other schools in the Play category, did not end up winning.
However, they now will still get their playground after this week's news.
Ms. Maxwell said the $50,000 should buy all of the playground equipment, but there will be more costs for things like dirt work and flooring.
“It's still going to be a work in progress, but there will be something there…,” she said, adding that children want a rock wall and slides. “We want it to be comparable to other schools — just a big nice play area for kids.”
She said they hope that others in the community might be able to help with things like dirt work and the retaining wall because the more donations it gets, the more money can be used for playground equipment. She said she's already heard that an Emergency Medical Services group wants to have a volunteer day and come out and help. There is also a fundraiser scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. Jan. 29 at Mooyah restaurant in Tyler. Part of the proceeds during that time will go toward the playground project.
In the meantime, Ms. Parnell said they are looking at different