Playing it forward, Maryland Elementary

After seeing the new playground installed at Cassingham Elementary during Summer 2017, Tricia Gockstetter was inspired. As a mother to a Maryland second grader and Kindergartner, Gockstetter felt it was time for the Maryland front playground to have a facelift. The playground at the front of the school was installed in 1950 and still has some original structures. It has not been updated in 15 years. Gockstetter’s parent-led Maryland Playground Committee has set a goal of raising $55,000 by April to modernize the playground in time for the start of the 2018-19 school year.

Through word-of-mouth alone, the Committee has raised $17,000 to-date. They are now planning some fundraising events, and have enlisted BHS graduate and comedian David Price for a comedy night on February 22 at the Drexel Theatre; tickets can be purchased at The Drexel or online. There will also be a child-centric event in April, those details are still being worked out.

Price, who attended Maryland Elementary, said, “It’s about time the playground is different. I swung on those swings, I hung from those monkey bars as did my father, but it’s time to move forward.”

For the next era of the front playground, Gockstetter believes it is important to have the input of current Maryland students who use the playground every day. She sat down with Kindergartners to hear their ideas and here’s what they had, both some practical and inventive: replace the flooring, because mulch in shoes is uncomfortable, add more imaginary play elements like a treehouse, and a water slide.

The proposed design includes expanding the swing set options and adding a new fixed play structure, including monkey bars and a small ropes course. “We want the playground to look it’s best,” Gockstetter said, referring to its prominent position on Maryland Avenue.

The Committee has contracted with Playworld to install and purchase the new structures. Playworld has worked with the Bexley Schools previously on the Montrose playground project.

To learn more about the Maryland playground project, including how to make a designated gift through the BEF, visit bexleyeducationfoundation.org or contact the Bexley Education Foundation office at (614) 338-2093.