City Officials and Hattiesburg Public Schools Cut Ribbon on Joint Projects at Thames Elementary

City Officials and Hattiesburg Public Schools Cut Ribbon on Joint Projects at Thames Elementary

Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Monday, May 23, Mayor Toby Barker joined Hattiesburg Public School District Superintendent Dr. Robert Williams and several local community leaders to cut the ribbon on two new amenities at Thames Elementary – new playground equipment and a junior disc golf course. 

“We are a city that believes in partnerships, particularly when it comes to our public schools,” said Barker. “Thames Elementary and the park around it have long been a focal point for Midtown communities, and late last year the idea to transform some of its unused green space into an amateur/junior disc golf course was suggested.”

With the help of community member and two-time disc golf world champion Guillermo Avalos, the project went from an idea to fruition as he invested much of his time to planning and installing the courses. Avalos also donated sets of discs and mini discs to Thames Elementary to help foster a new recreational activity with its students. 

Barker added, “Hattiesburg, this is another example of your penny at work. We’re grateful for Mr. Avalos for his investment in this area and into the future of the sport.”

The total cost for the junior disc golf course project was $7,000, and it was funded by the 1% tax on hotel/motel/restaurants that was approved by the citizens of Hattiesburg in April 2019.

In addition to the junior disc golf course, the day’s ceremony took place to also recognize a new playground that was the result of a community-driven campaign hosted by the Parent-Teacher Association for Thames and with support from the City. 

“Children who actively play see improvements in overall physical, mental and emotional health. They also have opportunities to develop empathy and social skills. These two amenities will go a long way in helping our teachers and students stay engaged in physical activity and play,” said Caila Bowie, PTA President. “We are thankful to each and every community member who contributed to ensuring that our students have what they need to be Burg Bult.”

Each year, the PTA hosts a 5K run that starts and finishes at the Thames Track. The funds raised went toward the purchase of the playground equipment. 

“Often when we think about a penny, we think of something found on the ground or stepped over. But whether it’s pickleball in the Thames Gym, a basketball court at Ebenezer Baptist Church or here – with the disc golf and playground – every little bit makes a big difference,” said Williams. “These projects continue to add to the quality of life for the community as well as the students.”

The Thames Elementary Park area is open from dusk to dawn and available to the public through a partnership with the Hattiesburg Public School District and the Forrest County Board of Supervisors.