Play for All

Dr. Brosseau Middle School plans for an inclusive playground

Vince Spila, Principal of Dr. Bernard Brosseau (Dr. B) Middle School, in Bonnyville, presented to Town Council on Tuesday, plans for a new inclusive playground. On behalf of Dr. B, Mr. Spila requested of the Town $15,000 to assist in the cost of building the playground; which has a price tag of $138,609.45.

“By going through the town, we’ve realized [children with accessibility problems] don’t have access to many playgrounds in our town. That’s very fair for the kids,” Mr. Spila explains that there is one student coming up from elementary school next year and he hopes that she will be able to use the playground. “We decide to put in an all-inclusive playground at our school. This won’t just affect the students at our school, but it’ll affect the whole community,” Dr. B’s playground is open to the public outside of school hours and is a hot spot for activity throughout the year.

We want to make sure that every student is included and has access to our playgrounds. We don’t want to discriminate against anyone. – Mr. Vince Spila Principal Dr. Bernard Brosseau Middle School.

Mr. Spila explains that the playground would not look any different to a regular child and would not make the children using it feel as though they were using a “different” playground. It would be utilized by all students with the only difference between the playground and the current structure is that it would be accessible for all; including children in wheelchairs. There will also be sensory features that will make the playground even more fun for kids with autism. The equipment will be build to challenge the overall strength/coordination of the child with grasping and sensory elements build in.

The school has started researching the project and found that 20 out of 57 children, between 0-17 years of age, in Bonnyville, would benefit from an accessible playground. The school also wants to keep in mind that future generations will benefit from the structure for many years.

“If it were up to me, we’d have the playground in September,” Mr. Spila excitedly announced to Council, with the understanding that it will likely take a year’s worth of fundraising to achieve the $138,609.45 necessary to build the structure. The school will approach the Municipal District of Bonnyville with the same ask, $15,000 and hopes to get the remainder from grants, the student union, parent council fundraising and corporate sponsorships.

The Town of Bonnyville Council was very favourable of the project and decided to hold off on giving any funds until Dr. B asked other stakeholders. Town Council will keep the item on their minds for the 2018 Budget deliberations.