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First Lady Lee Works With Hermitage Springs Students

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
First Lady Lee Works With Hermitage Springs Students

Students at Clay County’s Hermitage Springs School met with First Lady Maria Lee Tuesday to design a playground to be built at Hermitage Springs Park.

Hermitage Springs School Principal Donatta Birdwell said students from Pre-K through eighth grade were asked to draw a design of what they hoped the playground might look like. She said the best 30 drawings were chosen, and the students responsible will work with Lee in the county’s new CTE building on a final design.

“Some of the things that were in there, they had a tornado shelter, bathrooms,” Birdwell said. “It surprised me on the basic needs instead of the wants, but they also put in things like a splash pad.”

Birdwell said a nonprofit called “KABOOM!” will guide the students through the design process. Birdwell said she is excited for students to see elements of what they have imagined for the park represented in the finished product.

“One of the things that comes with this is the art of designing,” Birdwell said. “Engineering. They are getting first-hand experience in designing, like, a playground. We are hopefully going to get to see this come to fruition.”

Pre-K teacher Scarlett Gentry said she is proud to be a part of the students’ unique opportunity to have been an integral part of the park that they will play on for years to come. She said Tuesday afternoon, the first lady and KABOOM! will walk the park to understand better what designs are possible for the space. She said in the evening, a community meeting will be held to hear the town’s wishes for the space.

“The actual park board members and different people from our community, be it parents, or faculty, or business owners will come in and voice their opinions so we make sure that it is definitely a community park,” Gentry said.

The community meeting will include a design session for adults, similar to the one the students will undergo in the daytime. Lee visited Hermitage Springs School Tuesday.


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