The Souders Community Playground Project, an initiative launched by the Hylen Souders Elementary PTO in September 2017 to fund raise for and build an inclusive, accessible playground for the school’s students and the Big Walnut community, will begin the build phase of its campaign during the school’s 2019 spring break, March 23-31.
Following a successful fundraising drive that raised more than $130,000 in donations and grants, and a careful process to vet potential playground equipment vendors, the Souders PTO contracted with Bluegrass Recreational Products of Danville, Kentucky, for the design, purchase, and construction of a new playground at Souders. Bluegrass Recreational Products is a licensed vendor of Little Tikes Commercial playground products and has more than 25 years of experience designing and implementing recreational play structures for schools, city parks and faith institutions.
The Souders Community Playground’s thoughtful design gives a nod to the Big Walnut area’s proud agricultural heritage and features Little Tikes Commercial brand components that enhance accessibility — such as poured rubber surfacing, ramps, transfer stations, sun protection, and a reach play panel — as well as play elements that embrace the value of inclusion, including the Little Tikes Revolution Inclusive Spinner™ and the Little Tikes Roller Slide™.
Souders Elementary PTO is planning a professionally supervised community playground installation during the Big Walnut Local School District’s spring break in March. The installation will use volunteers from the community who will work with a Bluegrass representative to ensure that the build site is properly prepared and the playground is installed correctly and in compliance with industry safety guidelines. The supervised community installation saves the PTO money — approximately 25 percent of the total project cost — allowing it to dedicate more of the funds it has raised to play equipment that engages children of all abilities.
“We are honored to partner with our school family and community in every step of our mission to allow all children to play together — from fundraising to ribbon-cutting. Working with our neighbors to build the playground will be an incredibly rewarding experience that will cultivate community pride and a sense of ownership in the playground,” said Shannon Buckler, president, Souders PTO.
The supervised community build of the Souders Community Playground is being planned with the help of Sunbury Big Walnut Kiwanis, which will sponsor volunteer recruitment efforts and assist with planning for on-site needs for the days of the installation.
The Souders Community Playground Project was created with a mission to build a physically accommodating, sensory-rich playground that welcomes kids of all abilities to grow together. The project’s vision is the creation of a local resource that offers equal opportunities for play to all children in the Big Walnut community today and leaves a legacy of inclusion for tomorrow.
Individuals or groups who are interested in learning more about community-build week volunteer opportunities should visit the playground project website, ptosouders.com, or email Sunbury Big Walnut Kiwanis at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the playground project is available via the Souders Elementary PTO website, www.ptosouders.com.