Project History

Why does the current playground no longer meet student needs? The school community has done its due diligence to make informed plans.

Identification of need

Twenty years ago, the existing playground structure was installed at Pond Cove, funded by a joint effort that also supported installation of structures at the Middle School and Fort Williams. Twelve years ago Natureland (the first set of raised beds along with boulders, tree plantings, and a gazebo) was added in the Southern area of the playground in partnership with CEEF as the first version of Pond Cove’s outdoor classroom and nature-play area. In 2015, it was identified that the existing playground and Natureland was deteriorating, based on:

  • Failed safety inspections
  • Student injuries sustained on the playground
  • Aged equipment
  • Difficulty with maintenance and upkeep of current landscape and structures
Current swings at Pond Cove

Gathering of input and ideas

With these concerns in mind, representatives of the Pond Cove staff, The Greater Greening Coalition, and CELT conducted a community charrette, comprised of:

  • A staff survey
  • A student survey via K-4 Guidance classes
  • Community input

Based on the data collected, a RFP was created and Sashie Misner, Landscape Architect, submitted a design for an “Adventure Play”-style playground that addressed the priorities listed, including:

  • A grassy area for organized sports
  • Well-designed black top area for basketball/four square
  • Re-designed natural play space
  • Easier maintenance of the equipment and play space
  • Enhanced gardening area in Natureland for outdoor learning
  • Two separate, age-appropriate play structures
  • Adaptable play equipment for students with physical challenges and disabilities
  • Multiple areas for imaginative play and exploration (sand area, tree house, climbing elements, wooden play boat)

Moving forward

In 2017, with money from the Transportation and Facilities Budget, the Cape Elizabeth School Facilities Department oversaw Phase I of Demolition and Preparation to ensure safe use prior to the major renovation. Work included:

  • Removal of playground structures that did not pass inspection
  • Removal of asphalt basketball court
  • Addition of new basketball hoops
  • Drainage issues
  • New fencing
  • Earthwork and seeding of disturbed areas
  • Removal of small rocks from Natureland
After 5 years of planning and preparation by Pond Cove Staff, the Operation Rebuild: Learn, Play, Grow Outside! campaign is ready to help bring their work to life!