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Students Design Dream Playground At Their School In Hell's Kitchen

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The school year is almost over, but that wasn't the reason for celebration in Hell's Kitchen Wednesday.

A public school in desperate need of a new playground finally got one -- and the students played a big part in making it happen, CBS2's Vanessa Murdock reports.

Now being able to climb and shoot hoops -- is all much sweeter because the students helped to design the playground.

Mary Alice Lee with the Trust For Public Land led students through the design process. She says their input is crucial to the success of their NYC playgrounds program.

"They're the ones who know every day what they want to do here," Lee said.

Over a three-month period students measured the yard, picked out what they wanted, then voted on favorites, and even worked on the layout.

"I really liked how the process was going -- the step by step process," said 11-year-old student Ayah Altareb.

Ashlee Hernandez, 9, said you really have to think about the design process.

Lee said they also talked to the students about budget and how much they had to spend on the playground. Students quickly learned $1 million can't buy everything.

But they are beyond thankful for their new place to play. Less than a year ago, the students played on a cracked, asphalt lot.

"We used to play kickball on the concrete and a lot of people would get hurt," said 10-year-old Leonel Perez.

Principal at P.S. 111 Irma Medina said that when it would rain, the lot wouldn't drain and would be an ice rink in the winter and mosquito infested in the summer.

Now, the playground has a ping pong table, a stage for singing and dancing, an outdoor classroom and even a place for a nature walk.

"After seeing this being built, I feel really proud of how they made this," said 5th grader Beyonce Thomas.

She should be proud, Murdock said. The artwork painted on the concrete is hers, and now part of the landscape.

The playground was built in partnership with New York City using public and private funds. It will be open to the public when school isn't in session.

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