Surprise, you’re getting a new playground!

Barringer Academic Center's kindergarten and first-grade students filled the cafeteria for a big surprise Feb. 8. Principal Stephanie Range talked about what made Barringer special and then announced that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Hands on Charlotte selected their school for a new playground build. Students enthusiastically clapped, cheered and danced. The rest of the school was told over the public announcement system and erupted in cheers.

On April 5, more than 100 volunteers from the business community will build the student-designed playground – at no cost to CMS. A safe, fun school playground can cost more than $80,000. The United Way is bringing together companies across the community to help build this playground, providing both funds and volunteers to make the students' dreams a reality.

"It's an honor to be chosen," said Range. "Our students work hard and they deserve this."

The playground build in Charlotte began 17 years ago after several local executives met with then President George W. Bush, who had asked cities across the country to participate in an annual playground build. Charlotte is the only city in the country that has kept the project going after the first year.