Student ideas incorporated into playground design
If you ask a group of kids to design their dream playground, you’re going to get a dizzying array of answers.
Sure, slides, swings and seesaws will be suggestions, but Wareham students in grades kindergarten through grade five also wanted to see football fields, climbing walls and even a hot tub.
During school on Thursday, students offered their ideas to representatives from Play by Design, an Ithaca, New York-based business specializing in “community-built” playgrounds.
A community-built playground involves many volunteers who help raise funds, gather materials and then build it over the course of six days in Wareham's case.
The new playground is being spearheaded by a new group, known as the Wareham Community for Outdoor Recreation, to replace the one at Leonard C. Lopes Field in Onset.
DaLiza Cardoza, who is president of the group, said they want to create more recreation opportunities in town, starting with the playground, which was built in 1983 for $50,000 with the help of 1,000 volunteers.
Cardoza, a 2011 graduate of Wareham High School, said the group has an aggressive schedule for building the new playground. She hopes to break ground in October 2017.
On Thursday night, the new design was unveiled before an excited group of kids and parents at Minot Forest Elementary.
“All of you, each and every one of you, are designers, but you’re not only designers, you’re also playground experts,” said Lisa DeShano, of Play by Design.
The new design featured three different areas suitable for kids 2 to 5 years old, 6 to 12 years old and an area for teenagers. A handicap accessible merry-go-round, spring toys, a pirate ship, twisty slide and other fun things were included in the plan.
A mix of public and private funds would be used to pay for the playground. At Town Meeting this month, an agenda item will request $75,000 of Community Preservation Act funds to redesign and rebuild the playground. Fundraisers and private donations will pay for the rest of the cost. There is no estimate on a final cost at this time.
Before Thursday, students submitted drawings of dream playgrounds to Play by Design.
Kaylee Buckland, a student at Decas Elementary, had one ambitious suggestion.
“I really would like to see a really cool slide,” said Kaylee. “One that’s 100 feet high! It’ll take days to slide all the way down.”
While Kaylee did see her twisty slide idea adopted, it was scaled down significantly.
With the design done, Cardoza’s group seeks volunteers to help raise money and then give their time when the playground needs to be built. For more information to volunteer, email Cardoza at: firstname.lastname@example.org.