The last conceptual master plan for the Gatewood school grounds was completed in 2006. An energetic team from the community at that time worked to implement many of the hardscaping improvements proposed, such as the amphitheater and larger play structure in the playground and the benches, sculptures, and mural at the school’s north entry. Some of the softer elements in the plan—such as playfield improvements, a native plant garden, and other plantings—were not completed.
Garden areas were started at the south entrance at the school and in the northeast corner of the property, though have been challenging to maintain given a lack of water access, tools and convenient tool storage, and a school-wide plan for garden use and maintenance.
A team from a Seattle Tilth-sponsored permaculture design course is proposing a design for an inspiring learning garden / outdoor classroom / permaculture demonstration project in the northeast corner of the property.
We will be vetting the design with the community and district this fall. The Gatewood PTA is generously providing an initial budget for garden improvements in 2016-2017.
Our playground is ready for its next round of improvements. Since the site master plan was developed, two portables have been added to the playground, which has changed some opportunities for and patterns of play. There is almost no protection from sun or rain available to students during recess, and the playfield is currently in very poor shape and without irrigation during dry weather. While Gatewood has the good fortune of a beautiful view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, and close proximity to Lincoln Park, the playground itself is rather devoid of nature.
This fall we will be reviewing our master plan and determining priorities and a strategy for moving forward, including options for adding softer edges, trees, and natural areas while maintaining plenty of open space for active play.