New playground not an improvement on previous playground

Students sit bored in the new playground. The current version of the new playground is not an improvement on the previous one. Photo by Bella Worrell
Students sit bored in the new playground. The current version of the new playground is not an improvement on the previous one.
Photo by Bella Worrell

In 2014, construction for the New Frontiers campaign began. A prominent feature of this campaign is the new playground. The new playground contains one small climbing structure, a large, flat asphalt surface and a turf section, which are connected through a border of large stones. This playground is intended to be an improvement on the previous playground, which contained a large asphalt surface, a raised brick platform, a large jungle gym, basketball courts, and a steeper and larger stone section. While the new playground will fulfill the basic needs of a playground, it will need to be improved to restore it to the same standard as the previous playground.

The first problem, which is an over arching topic on the New Frontiers project, is the construction time. Although the school does have a limited budget for construction, the construction has lasted longer than initial projections. Even though the time is being used for ensuring maximum quality, the design of the playground is, overall, too simple. It contains one large flat surface, with two more flat surfaces that are raised by about a foot, and one small climbing structure that can only be used by a few students at a time. While more structures are yet to come, they need to come much faster in order to bring the playground to its full operational potential.

“I think it’s [the playground is] not good considering that they took two years to build it, and it’s not as elaborate or interesting as the other one,” said eighth grader Ishaan Rahman. Overall, the current playground is not the best recreational facility in comparison to the time it took to build it. Although the actual playground space itself did not take this long to build, paving asphalt, installing a couple of big stones and a small bit of turf should not have taken the months that it did. Also, they are yet to install several other features which have been promised to return, such as the structures and soccer pitch lines. The time it has so far taken is simply too long.

This playground is also lacking in several aspects that were featured in the old playground. It is still missing several prominent and well-liked features from the old playground. These include the raised area above the soccer field, the jungle gym, the basketball courts, the rocky area, and an area with wooden floors and lots of trees. Although the basketball courts had to be removed for the art building to exist, this does not explain the need for removing several other features that were used a lot by members of the middle school.

In the old playground, the jungle gym was used quite a lot by students, yet the new playgrounds climbing structure is only a fraction of the size of the previous one, and can only be used by a few students at a time. This playground will also be used by some grades in the lower school, who will also miss these features. Although they have been promised to return, it would be best if they sped up construction, put them back, and fully opened the rest of the playground as soon as possible. I also find the huge postponements on shipping of materials and overall construction to be quite concerning. Construction of the playground has been halted so many times because materials aren’t arriving in time for construction. I feel that the construction firm really should have prioritized the timing and scheduling more in accordance to the future users of the area, in this case, the students. Furthermore, some parts of the playground which were previously liked such as the rocky area, have been, in a sense, downgraded. Although there is still a rocky area, it barely does more than border the turf section and soccer pitch. Also, the old rocky area was far larger in terms of surface area, and was also a lot steeper. In fact, lack of different height levels in the new playground is hard to miss, and is removing quite a nice dynamic to the previous area.

The final problem is the ongoing construction in the area. While the new playground is mostly complete, several parts of it are still closed off for construction. In addition, there is also a large pit which is meant to become a courtyard for the arts building. The existence of such construction apparatus and large pits essentially reduce the use of the new playground. This is especially true because many students like playing ball games, like soccer. However, due to the unfinished construction of the courtyard, this isn’t possible, as it could interrupt and damage construction.

  Overall, the new playground, while still serving its purpose, requires improvements such as the addition of features of the old playground. Also, the playground that was created from nearly two years of construction fell short of expectations, and did not meet the standard promised by the New Frontiers campaign.

About Lucas Romualdo ('20)

Staff Writer

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