Building Bridges to our Future campaign officially concludes
BY DENNY SCOTT
With the erection of signs thanking sponsors for their help with the project, the Building Bridges to the Future (BB2F) campaign has officially reached its goal.
The BB2F committee was struck in 2012 to help prepare for the opening of the new centralized school in Wingham that would become the Maitland River Elementary School, according to co-chair Teresa Becker. She remembers when the group first met in the library at the now-demolished Turnberry Central Public School outside of Wingham. At the time, the group was just looking to create a playground for the new school, however the project would eventually encompass far more than that.
While she has been involved since day one, it wasn’t until 2015 that Becker and Karri Anne Cameron became chairs of the organization.
The group has since raised over $600,000 to put in new playground equipment at the school and upgrade the sports field at F.E. Madill School, making it accessible with a paved path.
Becker says that, in the fall of 2013, when the new school was built, the group was able to build sandboxes and swing sets, followed by climbing equipment in the primary and junior yards and the spider climber after that. Following those projects, they improved the soccer field and sports track at F.E. Madill School after the first of two gala fundraisers hosted by the committee, then built the accessibility track.
In the summer of 2019, they built a shed to store sports equipment at the field, a project which was finished by a class at Madill, Becker said.
While it’s easy to see the work done at Maitland River, Becker said the work at Madill isn’t as obvious, but just as important.
According to Becker, The work included improving drainage at the field; bringing the running track up to standard and grading it to provide better drainage; installing new jumping pits, including a run-up to one to allow for hurdle training, and a new pit for shot put and discus.
Field upgrades will continue, Becker said, thanks to the annual colour run at the school. The fundraiser is supposed to provide financial support for maintenance of the field.
The storage shed is a big improvement, she said, because staff and students don’t have to drag equipment from the school to the field when it’s time for events. The accessibility track is also a boon to the site, Becker said, because not only does it make the field and the sports there available for everyone, but it also allows a clear path for emergency services to get to the field if needed.
The community has been taking advantage of the upgrades as well, Becker said, saying that, during the pandemic, people have taken to walking around the restored track as a means of keeping in shape while being able to distance.
Between the playground and the field, Becker said it’s taken longer than anticipated, but the group’s members are ecstatic they were able to make the difference they have.
While Becker’s sure she and her fellow members will continue to work in the community, the BB2F has finished its mandate and is wrapping up its operation. She said the group is appreciative of the support of the community, and says that the people and the businesses of the entire catchment area, including Lucknow, Teeswater, Wroxeter and Gorrie, have been very supportive of the projects.
“It’s amazing what comes out of a community working towards a common cause,” she said.