'Amazing' volunteerism makes playground reality
By ABBY BELDEN
PLAINVILLE -- The playground at Sacred Heart Grade School in Plainville is scheduled have a new look come Aug. 22.
The outdated playground equipment is being replaced with a new play structure with a climbing wall, multiple slides and climbers, a merry-go-round and swing set.
Kelli Hansen, home and school president at the school, said the most recent update to the playground was the addition of a small, wooden structure for the preschool 10 years ago.
She said the new playground equipment was purchased with funds from donors and through auctioning the old play equipment.
In addition to receiving donations and the auction, Hansen said a campaign took place to pay for pea gravel and grass for the ground covering of the playground area.
Hansen said scoops of gravel were being sold for $20, and 75 percent of the goal had been met.
Before the new equipment could begin to go up, the site had to undergo dirt work.
Amherst Trucking and Excavation, a division of Ted Bean's Circle B Corp., donated time and equipment use to prepare the site for the playground.
Aaron Bean, Ted's son, is the head of operations for Amherst Trucking and Excavation, and helped with the site's dirt work.
Aaron Bean said his mother, Jo Ann, who is a kindergarten teacher at Sacred Heart Grade School, volunteered him, but he was happy to help.
"It works out well," Bean said. "I don't mind coming back and helping my schools. They helped me so much; they gave me my future."
Aaron Bean, who will be entering his fourth year as a construction science and management major at Kansas State University, attended Sacred Heart Grade School and graduated from Thomas More Prep-Marian High School in 2009. He also has donated his time at TMP for an Eagle Scout project in 2009 and said he is working on another project there.
He said he was "a small part of the equation" when looking at the big picture.
"It was impressive," Aaron Bean said. "There were people that would just come and help. ... It was amazing."
With the goal of completing the playground before school begins Aug. 22, Hansen said many of the volunteers of school and church families are working evenings and weekends to finish it in time.
Kim Rounsley, manager of Mr. K's Foodtown, is one of the volunteers who has been spending time at the site.
"My kid goes to school up there, he's in sixth grade, and I just thought it would be a neat thing to help out with it," Rounsley said. "It's a great school, and I like to help out as much as I can."