MOORE, Okla. — More than 200 volunteers with hammers in hand came together to build a playground at Plaza Towers Elementary School, including a Thunder superstar.
On May 20, 2013, the school was destroyed by a tornado, which killed 24 people, including 7 children at the facility.
Hundreds of volunteers from Nike, KaBoom!, along with Moore Public Schools and residents worked together to build a new Thunder themed playground for students.
Two students designed the playground and Friday, the images on paper came to life.
Kevin Durant also stopped by to lend a hand in building the playground.
“14 months ago, I was sitting at home watching and the first thing that went through my mind was that we bounce back. Our community always, we fall down, we always get back up. And it means a lot to me to be a part of this because that’s who I am as a person, that’s why I want to help these people. Today, it symbolizes that, we fall down and we get back up. And I’m just so honored to be here, so humbled to be here. Thank you all for considering me to be a part of something so special. And congratulations, this is a step forward,” Durant said.
Organizers say this event is needed because playtime creates a sense of normalcy for the students.
“It’s the beginning of a new chapter and I think it’s going to help a lot of healing and moving on with the kids,” said Patrick Chase, the principal at Plaza Towers.
The playground includes a slide, jungle gym and swing set.
“I’m going to meet a lot of new friends at the playground and it’s going to be really fun,” said Kaylee Sanchez.
After the twister, Nike representatives said they felt the need to help children affected by the storm.
They immediately reached out to KaBOOM!, a non-profit organization that promotes active lifestyles for kids.
“With a donation of $500,000, Nike is working with KaBOOM! to create five different playgrounds for the city,” said Lisa Beachy, a Nike representative.
With the school year just around the corner, Moore staff said the new playground will help students transition into their new building.
“They can look forward to a lot of excitement, we’re going to have a fantastic year. We’re going to do what’s best for kids, we’ll continue to grow and move forward. That’s what it’s all about,” said Chase.
Inside the new school, four classes act as safe rooms for students and teachers.
The school will open its doors again to students and teachers Aug. 19.