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Oyama students celebrate their new playground



One by one, Oyama kindergartners approached the microphone in their multipurpose room the morning of Wednesday, May 18, 2016, to deliver personal gratitude to Hudbay Minerals and Tucson Unified School District's Operations department. Their delight was subdued until the ribbon was cut just outside and they were able to sprint onto the structure, crowding the steps to slide down the slides.

"It is a beautiful structure; they did a fantastic job," Jerry Bustamante exclaimed. Bustamante is the Community Relations Manager for Hudbay and he helped facilitate the donation of around $20,000 from Hudbay, Jim Click and CAID Industries for the playground.

The need for the structure arose just six days before school started this past August, when vandals set fire to Oyama's old playground. Superintendent Sánchez and Chief Operations Officer Stuart Duncan made sure a temporary structure was in place in time for the first day of school; however, a permanent structure was still needed.

"We had heard about it on the news and we asked, 'How can we help?'" explained Bustamante. "We're committed to supporting our schools and outdoor recreation, so helping to build a playground like this helps as accomplish some of those goals."

Dr. Sánchez thanked Hudbay personally and was delighted at the community effort to help out Oyama. "Tucson's a really outstanding community with a lot of people who have a heart for kids and really support our schools," Dr. Sánchez said.

Oyama principal Tammy Christopherson, who organized the dedication event, specifically pointed out Mr. Duncan and the Tucson Unified Operations Team when giving her thanks for the efforts. She helped her student furnish personalized thank you notes for those involved in the effort to build the new playground.

As jubilant students sped through the woodchips around her, Christopherson was delighted to use this as a positive bookend to a year which started with misfortune. "You can see the kids around us are just having a blast... it's been a great way to end the year."