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Visiting Principals Pitch In To Rebuild Greektown Playground

BALTIMORE (WJZ)— With Baltimore City schools needing millions of dollars to fix aging schools, it's hard to get the money needed to rehab an obsolete playground.

As Mike Schuh reports, one school in Greektown got a big boost from educators visiting Baltimore.

The leveling of an obsolete playground came just in time. Just ask expert Stephanie Sparks.

"The equipment was very damaged," she said. "There were boards up in place of some of the railings. Climbers were missing. There were huge safety issues."

John Ruhrah Elementary-Middle School in Greektown has 600 kids and will have over 700 next year.

The school caught the attention of visiting educators.

"When I told the parents you could hear the cheer. They just were so excited," said Mary Donnelly, the school's principal.

They're cheering for this--a $26,000 state-of-the-art modern, safe, clean playground.

"These are my people, so look for hard hats," Sparks said.

Construction is supervised by professionals, but labor and assembly is provided by 60 high school principals.

Like one from Texas.

"It's just the pleasure of being able to give back to the kids," said Mark Terry, an elementary school principal in Southlake, Texas. "That's what we're in it for. All of us here are here for kids, so this kind of gives us the opportunity to give back to the community where we visit."

The volunteers, pulling as one, are in Baltimore for a national conference of elementary school principals.

The manufacturer donated the playground.

"We have a great association with these folks because what they do really affects the lives of children," said Pat Faust, Landscape Structures.

But the group decides where it goes in the convention city.

"To be able to find this group and to be able to provide them with a beautiful new playground for a really overcrowded school to be able to play on. I'm excited about that," Sparks said.

That conference of 1800 elementary school principals starts Thursday and runs through Saturday.

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