I got to peek at the 3 preliminary designs today. They were all great improvements over what we have now. The designers are going with the idea that our playground as-is sits like a desert surrounded by fertile land. They are working hard to create imaginative spaces out of our blacktop.
Here are some descriptions of the three designs I saw, in no particular order:
The designs are all three about changing the landscape to incorporate and blend it more with the natural landscape around it. There are lots of trees and bushes around the edges, inside and outside of the fence. The fence is moved out towards the greenspace, towards the field, and towards the classrooms in the three different designs. There are boulders in clumps and as stepping paths. There is a design idea for a painted path that flows like a stream around the whole blacktop. There are spinning things on a squishy blue island and a big climber on a squishy blue island that sits against a crescent moon shaped hill. There were steps up to a compass that sat at the north end of our playground, half surrounded by grass that was reclaimed by the field. There were whirligigs. There was a compass that doubled as benches.
Tomorrow our designers will meet with the Seattle Public Schools people to approve the designs.
Important note about the process: The designers are not going to give us any play equipment designs. They are giving us designs for the whole space — it’s look and feel. They are changing the height of the land and the surfaces. They are suggesting where to put pockets of equipment, and how to integrate it into a design that is all about what people asked for in the first meeting and in the blog poll: greenspace integration/imagination/paths. When it is time to choose equipment has to be bid on and designed by a playground equipment company. We tell them we want “spinning, upper body and stepping stones, for 200,000” — they give us designs. We have to choose the cheapest one that meets all our needs/specs.
Please come to the meeting, even if you’re late with hungry kids. Or, find a friend who will represent you.
Hope to see you there!