Johnson students converge on castle playground for last play date

Rick Wagner • Dec 20, 2018 at 11:00 AM

KINGSPORT — This Thursday, Dec. 20, is the last day and evening to take a selfie or a photo at the iconic “castle” playground at Kingsport’s Johnson Elementary School.

Almost all of Johnson’s 580 students, plus teachers and staff, converged on the playground Wednesday afternoon for a drone video and photographs shot by Cumberland Marketing. The students cheered as the drone buzzed above them, while news media and school officials took photos and videos from the ground level of the students and the playground. It is a community playground and city officials have said it is the second-most used playground in town, the first being Darrell’s Dream Playground at Warrior’s Path State Park.

Kingsport City Schools Communications Editor Marybeth McLain said demolition by a private company may start shortly after the 12:30 p.m. early dismissal of students Friday. Because the public is asked not to use the playground during regular school hours, that means meaning Thursday evening will be the last chance for photos at the playground to be rebuilt as The Castle in a community build March 5-10, the same process used to build the original in 1990.

For information on volunteering to work, donate to or lend tools to the effort, which as of Wednesday had raised $191,000 of $275,00 needed for the complete plans, go online to the castleofkingsport.com. Online donations also are accepted there.