Come Play With Us
We have been running, playing, and making memories on our current playground since 2004 when our main administration and lower school building was opened. The design has served us well and now, 15 years later, playground design and purpose has evolved, just as we have evolved as a school. Now, we have an opportunity to imagine a whole new landscape for outdoor play at St. Mark’s.
- What kind of equipment are we getting?
- Why doesn’t it look like “traditional” equipment?
- How much is this going to cost? How are we paying for it?
- Why are we taking out so many trees?
- What about the prayer garden?
- Will we be updating the Early Childhood playground?
Today’s playground equipment can be non-traditional in look and feel and can be appealing in an entirely new way. After interviewing many reputable companies, St. Mark’s is proud to partner with Kompan in this endeavor. Kompan designs equipment that offers tremendous play value and capacity, while also aiding in physical and cognitive development. Their unique designs are backed by a world-class warranty and over 40 years of experience and expertise. They are one of the only providers who not only create and manufacture equipment, but run a play research program to ensure that their designs are innovative and inspiring.
Great quality play equipment invites children to problem solve and plan their movement. The current wisdom behind playground design no longer plans for one large structure. Smaller pieces of equipment encourage movement between structures, and can increase the playground’s total capacity. Smaller structures also help us maximize our space.
The current project’s total price tag is $461,497. This is a substantial long-term investment for St. Mark’s.
After a successful fundraising year through the Annual Fund, and the UnGala, the school is able to substantially support this project through the operating budget, but that won’t pay for its entirety. We asked for gifts specifically for the playground at the 2019 UnGala and Auction, when we announced a very generous match up to $100,000 from an anonymous donor. We were pleased to raise an additional $33,000. At this time, we are asking for more community support to make this project the best that it can be.
The current playground included the fast-growing Bald Cypress trees along the south side of the building, and among the prayer garden. These handsome trees are actually native to river banks and tributaries, and are meant for areas with much more water. If you take a walk on our current field space, you will notice the knotty cypress “knees” popping up in multiple areas, causing bumps in our turf and creating a less than safe condition for play.
The reimagining of the play area included looking at the entirety of the outdoor footprint on this section of our campus. Gabriel’s Garden is being relocated to a more central location, near the bell tower and courtyard. This change will allow for an increase of 1722 more square feet of play space in our design.
We are excited to consider that possibility as well. When we first approached the playground design, we considered making improvements to both spaces simultaneously this summer. This proved to be logistically challenging, and it would have limited our summer offerings. Stay tuned for more information regarding this project!