When students at Morton’s Jefferson Elementary School return from summer break later this month, they will have new playground equipment to fill their recess periods.

 The school celebrated the completion of its renovated playground Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. According to Jefferson Principal Kate Wyman, the project was several years in the making.

“The vision of our amazing PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) and the generosity of many individuals are what bring us here today,” Wyman said in a speech during the ribbon cutting. “Jefferson School celebrated its 90th year last year with a community open house. We set a goal to raise enough money to completely remodel and enhance our play structures near the primary wing of our building. We realized at that time it was a lofty goals, but (Jefferson School) Patriots are not ones to shy away from a challenge.”

The remodeling of the playground and the new equipment cost about $60,000, Wyman said. The money was raised through grants, donations from private citizens and local businesses, and a variety of fundraising activities.

“There are times you helped and probably didn’t even know you were contributing to the playground,” said Jefferson School PTO President Jen Donavan. “One of the things we did to raise the money was Pumpkin Festival clean-up. When you were here helping us clean up for the Pumpkin Festival, we were actually earning money from the Morton Chamber of Commerce.”

After Wyman cut the ribbon, local children swarmed onto the playground to try out the array of new slides, climbing structures, and swings. Refreshments were served at the conclusion of the ceremony.