It was a 5-0 vote. An easy one, really. But that 5-0 vote was a huge symbolic step toward EagleLand2 coming to fruition.
The Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Board of Education agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bellbrook Lions Club at the December 14 meeting, which will give control of the playground area of the property between Bell Creek Intermediate and the St. Pierre Board of Education Building to the Lions Club so it can begin work on the new accessible playground.
According to drawings, the updated playground will have at least three new attractions, including the We Go Round, the Zip Krooz and the Quantis. The Lions Club also will “square off” the area to the west side of the playground, adding more room and moving and updating the swing set. One of the bigger parts of the project is the turf that will be installed, making the newer pieces as well as the swings, accessible by wheelchair.
Gregg Sparks gave a presentation and overview to the board on Dec. 14 before the MOU was agreed upon, showing images and videos of the new attractions.
The entire project started thanks to the inclusiveness shown by several third graders in Mrs. Culler’s class. As part of a Project-Based Learning project, Culler told her class to think of a real-world problem and to find ways to solve it. Their problem? Some of their friends with disabilities couldn’t access areas of the playground.
The project wasn’t just “find a problem.” They needed to actively work to fix it. The next step was to write a friendly letter asking for a change.
That letter went to Principal Donnie Phelps, who responded that while the project was worthwhile, the district simply couldn’t afford to fix it.
The students would have to take it a step further. And so they did, heading to the Lions Club Pancake Breakfast in February 2023. There, they shared their idea with the Lions Club in a Shark-Tank-like presentation to solicit funds to build a more inclusive playground space.
“It was amazing to see them with a seed of hope, to see that turn into something beyond their wildest dreams,” Phelps said.
They showed up, gave a presentation and showed a video pleading their case while also holding signs and speaking eloquently on behalf of their friends. Thankfully, the Lions Club responded with a big pledge and has now taken it a step further, entering into the agreement with the district.
The Lions Club is partnering with the school to raise funds for the project, but is still seeking donations to help fund the playground. To find out how you can contribute or sponsor a portion of the playground, contact Ernie Havens by calling 937-776-3784.