Good news! We received word yesterday that we won a $5,000 Small Sparks grant from the Department of Neighborhoods to complete design and construction documents for improvements in the southwest corner of our playground. Our generous PTA will be providing additional matching funds to make this happen. The work we do in the next few months will prepare us to apply for a larger implementation grant in June, with the goal of starting improvements this fall.
Here’s what we’ve done to date, with some visuals:
- The Gatewood community developed a conceptual master plan for our school grounds in 2006. Many improvements proposed in that plan have since been completed (diagram here).
- In the fall, we decided to focus current improvement efforts on the southwest corner of the playground (current playfield). Some photos of our current playfield can be found here.
- Based on December 2016 school survey results (see previous post here), we are proposing 1) a smaller, renovated grass field for ball play; 2) an all-weather path/track around the perimeter of the field for running, walking, biking; and 3) natural areas to potentially include shade trees, boulders, logs and stumps for nature play and respite areas. Some examples of these elements at other playgrounds can be found here.
- With these general areas in mind, our steering committee developed a few bubble diagrams (one, two and three) to provide a starting point for design sketches.
- We hired irrigation and sustainability consultants in January to assess our site and provide recommendations for cost-effective, sustainable approaches to our proposed improvements, given site and district maintenance constraints. They provided recommendations for irrigation, drainage testing, building our soil, storm water management, and turf and trees appropriate for the site.
Next step? Based on all of this groundwork, our steering committee will work with a landscape architect to sketch a couple of design options for community review and feedback. We plan to have sketches available for viewing within the next few weeks. We’ll let you know when and where!