New playroom opens

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- The new children's playroom opened in the community center here April 2, 2013.

The $5,700 project includes renovations to the existing room, a seating area for parents, a window into the playroom, a lever-locked gate and numerous children's play items.

"This is truly amazing evidence of our community taking care of its families," said U.S. Air Force Col. David Julazadeh, 52nd Fighter Wing commander from Chillacothe, Ill. "Despite the fiscal environment today and with almost no cost to the U.S. military, these people came together and made it happen. What an awesome thing for our community."

The project began in early January when representatives from the Officers and Civilian Spouses Club and the Spangdahlem Spouses and Enlisted Members Club filed a formal request with the 52nd Mission Support Group asking for an indoor play area for children due to long periods of inclement weather. Once the request was approved at the wing level, volunteers began to act.

"A lot of times, people just don't ask the question," said Jennifer Mulder, playroom OSCS representative. "This wasn't just chatter across the base, it was a real need. We took a good idea and found support within the community."

Three private organizations partnered together with the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron to fund the project. The SSEMC, OCSC, and the Bitburg Middle School Parent Teacher Student Association pooled together $4,000 for the equipment, flooring and seating area. Civil engineers then repurposed existing hardware to renovate the room, with a total of 130 hours and $1,700.

"Even with the sequestration, we were able to build this to help out," said Senior Airman Keegan Seymour, 52nd CES Structures Flight. "I'm thankful that what we've done lets parents get their children out of the house for a while."

Mulder said the Spangdahlem private organizations use fund-raising activities throughout the year to have the money available for similar projects. The funds are intended as a gap filler between what the Air Force can pay for and the base's way of life.

The room is designed for children ages 4 and younger and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. Private organization representatives encourage parents to monitor children activity as the children's toys and play items were purchased using donated funds. Damage to equipment may not be replaced. For more information, call the community center at DSN 452-7381 or 06565-61-7381.