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Woodstock Elementary School Wins Vermont Public Places Award


The children at this school had an old, tired set of wooden playground equipment that was long past its prime, together with a huge paved area that caused massive water, ice, and runoff problems. Basically, the kids had little to do and were constantly bored.

We worked closely with the playground committee using a comprehensive design process which resulted in a beautiful design incorporating mountains, foothills, and play elements built into the existing and new hills.

Our construction team swung into action, and a short time later, shallow caves, forts, climbing walls, upper body play elements, a gaga pit, accessible woods trail path, big boulders, and many other play and learning features were installed and now totally engage the children and visitors to the community. During the winter, the children now have several areas for snow sledding and a place for an ice slide. The newly configured, and very much smaller paved area includes basketball and foursquare.

All this was accomplished with the first phase of fundraising. The committee is planning on raising more funds in the future to purchase additional play and learning elements. Because they have a comprehensive plan, they will know exactly where to place these new elements.

As is usually the case, we provided input to the landscape team that was responsible for the new landscaping around other parts of the school.

Residents of and visitors to Woodstock, VT have witnessed and enjoyed the transformation of the school grounds over the past two years. The cracked pavement entrance has been replaced by gardens, stonework, granite benches and beautiful ?ower and vegetable gardens. Green play spaces designed and built by the Natural Playgrounds Company of Concord New Hampshire, incorporating hills re?ecting the surrounding mountainous terrain, trees, boulders, a large sand play area, an amphitheater, three slides with rock scrambles, and play elements, have replaced the stark and depressing blacktop on the playground. The satisfaction of a job well done was really all the school and project partners needed. When it was announced the project won a Vermont Public Places Award the team was delighted!

On March 19 members of the team traveled to the state house in Montpelier to accept the award on behalf of the community. This project was made possible by the people of Woodstock and surrounding communities: over 300 private donations and grants funded 90 percent of the project! Artist Adrian Tans donated his time to design the new sign. The Vermont Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Vermont Planning Associations, the Vermont Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Council present the Vermont Public Places Award to recognize special public spaces which have been beautifully designed to promote positive use by the general public.

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