Motley School principal asks for city support

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

Principal of Motley Elementary and Middle  Schools, Justin Sperling, asked the Motley City Council for support in erecting a more user-friendly playground for his students.

“Our outdoor area needs improvement,” Sperling said Tuesday. “We surveyed the kids and they want to see a basketball court, a social area, an arts area, a walking trail and Gaga pits.”

He said he wasn’t sure what Gaga pits were at first, but learned it was a type of ball game played on a court. The game is played in a hexagon or octagon area and is similar to dodgeball.

Sperling said he would like to see the students help develop and build the playground area.

The Staples Motley Beyond Poverty Coalition has received supporting grants from the Staples Motley Area Community Foundation ($1,850) and Blanden Foundation ($4,000) to help erect the playground.

“Can we make this a focal point for the city?” Sperling said. “Would the city want to partner with the school and other organizations?”

Mayor Nancy Nieken thought it was a very nice idea and Council member Rob Sampson had issues with liability and safety. He wanted to know if the areas in question, east of the school, would be contained. Sperling said some would be, but when the children are outside, there is supervision.

The Council did not take a vote to partner with the project.