Human & Rohde, Inc., along with Custom Playgrounds and Child Care Design Consultants, Inc., was responsible for designing and overseeing the construction of this multi-purpose playground for Lower School children on the Park School campus in Baltimore.
Following programming meetings with the Lower School Playground Committee, comprised of administrators, faculty, and recreation staff members, several conceptual designs were developed to show varying degrees of constructed elements. The final playground design was an amalgamation of these concept plans and reflects a cooperative process with the school resulting in a finished product that meets their program of activities, the number of children expected to use the area at any given time, aesthetic considerations, site and budgeting constraints, and safety standards.
The site’s unusual boundaries, limited size (less than an acre), and extreme original topography posed major challenges for design of a playground facility that would meet the school’s needs as well as safety and accessibility standards. Major retaining walls were employed to maximize useable space in order to accommodate the large numbers and varied ages of the children. The resulting level areas provided the spaces needed for the varied play experiences that the school required. These included a large play structure with numerous climbers, upper body components, and slides suitable for first through fifth grade students; an adventurous pyramidal climbing net; swings; paved multi-purpose court and hitting wall; two large sand play areas, one formal, the other with rustic boulder edging; an open playhouse with shade-sail roof; misting post with matching fabric canopy; and a moderately sloping lawn area that was later surfaced with poured-in-place rubber as a permanent solution to worn grass. A circular patio and planter at seat wall height provide transition from the classroom wing to the more active play areas, as well as a gathering spot and passive activity area. A concrete sidewalk and steps connect all areas of the playgrounds. Extensive landscaping extends the campus’s park-like setting into the playground and provides screening and shade.
The playground was dedicated in September 2004. Construction costs were approximately $550,000.