Members of the East Iredell Elementary School Student Parent Teacher Organization, decked out in their ugly holiday sweaters, held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday afternoon for their playground expansion. 


East Iredell Elementary School students, including those with special needs, will soon have another area to climb, slide and swing.

Members of the Student Parent Teacher Organization from East Elementary gathered in the blustery wind Thursday to break ground on their new playground expansion.

“I love that they are going to leave on Christmas break and then will come back and it’s going to be like ‘Merry Christmas,’ ” said SPTO President Debby Shipman.

The organization hopes the playground will be ready when students return from the holiday break. However, the exceptional children playground area will take a little bit longer, Shipman explained.

“We’re very eager. Grounds is very eager to get it going for us as well,” she said.

The new additions include a fenced-in area for students who are in wheelchairs to swing, with a turf ground covering.

The other area will include a three-slide structure and a large climbing structure, double the size of the current one. The SPTO will pad the area out with fiber mulch.

“This piece isn’t necessarily for older kids. It’s for all the kids. There are not enough playground areas so they all rotate among the open field and playground that exists now. I’m excited…they’ll have more exercise climbing and sliding,” explained Sally Williams, co-secretary of the SPTO.

The school has nearly 900 students and it’s hard to share the limited playground equipment that they do have.

The SPTO teamed up with Mooresville Glass and Mirror and other community sponsors, who wished to remain anonymous, to raise the $30,000 needed for the expansion.

The new equipment was purchased from Peggs Recreation in Mooresville, which has worked with other schools within the district.

The company creates single structures so that pieces can be added in the future.

“Our kids work so hard in reading, writing and math,” explained Principal Angel Oliphant. “So to be able to come out and play and to build their social skills that’s equally as important.”

“I’m just excited for the kids. I know when they see the equipment, they will be thrilled,” she added.

About the East Elementary SPTO

The purpose of the East SPTO is to enhance and support the educational experience at the school, to develop a closer connection between school and home by encouraging student and parental involvement, and to improve the environment at EIES through volunteer and financial support. The organization has provided teachers with microwaves, helps stock the food pantry, manages a clothes closet and outreach and many other projects. To learn more or get involved, email