LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - An elementary school is celebrating 100 years in the community and supporters have a birthday present for the district - a new athletic complex.
Parents at Forest Park Elementary are in the last leg of a massive fundraising effort for the project and they're reaching out to the public for help to finish the race.
The US Department of Education just named the school a National Blue Ribbon School but the 450 students the school serves are in need of a place to stretch out and move. With no PE building or covered activity area, they are forced to have PE class in the hallways when the weather isn't good.
"It has been very challenging to provide all the physical activity that students are required to have daily and weekly on bad weather days and very hot summer days," said Principal Theresa Ketcher.
But with some help from supporters, that challenge will soon be gone. The Parent-Teachers Association has raised more than $300,000 for a new athletic complex for the school - the largest gift on record ever donated to the Little Rock School District by a school PTA.
"There were so many times you would think, 'How are we gonna do this? How are we gonna get the word out?' The word spread. Word of mouth is the best advertisement."
The PTA has raised enough money to begin construction but they still need more to fund other phases of the project, including an all-weather athletic pavilion, jogging track and synthetic turf field.
The next phase of their efforts is a goal to raise $20,000 by next Friday, May 3. To reach that goal, the Forest Park PTA is selling engraved bricks that will make up the walls and columns of the pavilion. If you would like to buy one, you can call (501) 960-0539 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Construction is scheduled to begin on June 7 and the pavilion should be finished by August.