After learning about many needs with our 3 playgrounds from faculty and staff, the PTO Board and various members have been busy researching and assessing needs. Since the start of the year, we have visited a beautiful Montessori playground at James Simons Elementary in Charleston, had several discussions with various playground equipment vendors, visited Caughman Road and Carver Line playgrounds which have been recently upgraded by the district, met with our district playground manager, James Montgomery, and most importantly, surveyed teachers and staff for general feedback as well as recess cart needs, followed by discussion at a staff meeting. In order to meet some real immediate needs, we have made updating the recess carts a short-term goal for the year. We hope the new equipment will be in play before the end of February.
The teachers and staff have identified several big needs:
- Primary – Their top wish is to expand the playground to include the neighboring field for more running space; they also want to rebuild and move the location of the raised beds so that we can have greater success of growing vegetation. They also want more shade.
- Lower El – They desire a more natural playspace, removing the existing play structure to add climbing/balance equipment, and keeping the large field space with higher fencing so that balls are not continually lost to the parking lot. They want a storage shed, accessible irrigation and more natural vegetation. They also would like more shade.
- Upper El – This is the most complicated to plan with the infrastructure of the amphitheatre and track. Students desire space for soccer and swings and materials for building forts. They want hammocks and a slack line. They greatly need new recess equipment, as the “blue bars” are dangerous exercise equipment. equipment. It is noted it would be helpful to move basketball hoop back towards the gym wall to better use the space.
At this point, the board is moving forward with developing a vision that can be built in phases with a multi-year fundraising plan. As of yet, we do not have a budget determined. We do know that playground renovation is an expensive and intensive enterprise that will require utilization of many community resources, and plan to keep the Brockman Community informed throughout the process.