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Kingswood Preparatory School

Different by Design always enjoy a challenge and being as creative as possible. Kingswood Preparatory School  provided the perfect opportunity. 

We have worked with schools across the South West for almost twenty years and are so excited to share this transformation with you!

What they had

Kingswood Prep School is situated on a magnificent 100-acre site in Lansdown, Bath. The school has far reaching views over the City and a wealth of historic buildings on the site. However, the school playground needed revitalising and to pay homage to the schools fabulous setting.

 Working with the school we identified the following issues:

 The current open playground meant that ball sports dominated the area and marginalised other types of play.

 The existing climbing wall was out of action along with the play tower due to rotting timbers.

 The raised seating areas along the length of the playground were rarely used and there was a selection of old and partly broken musical instruments.

But…..

The Friends of Kingwood Prep School had a vision and were extremely successful in raising funds for the playground improvements. Working with the school and its management team, we were able to have apply our creative approach to unlock the playgrounds potential.

What they wanted

The Friends of Kingswood wanted to achieve an overall playground that catered for all ages, large and small numbers of pupils and included a sports zone and quiet areas. 

They were looking for ‘something different’ which suits DBDplay well!

They wanted to include the following components:

·       Separated mini MUGA facility to have multi sports available for pupils both recreationally and within PE lessons

·       Open space for free play and ‘line up’

·       Areas for relaxation

·       A story telling area

·       New surfacing throughout

·       Innovative Playhouse

·       Repair of the existing climbing wall

What we did

Obviously, all types of play are important so we created a mini Multi Use Games Area, separated from other areas of the playground where ball games could be played freely without marginalising other areas of play. We overlaid the old tarmac surface with artificial grass suitable for sports use. We installed ‘In Ground’ post sockets so that Tennis, Volleyball, Netball and Football can be  played using the same surface space.

Making use of the existing bank we created two dug outs which allow teams to spectate the MUGA area safely, they also provide a great team support zone when matches are played.

We turned a redundant tree pit into an amazing bespoke cedar shingle Treehouse.  Children enter via the arch and into a larger than expected interior with an exit down a scramble net into the area where the apple tree grows. The Treehouse is perfect for curriculum small group work/story time as well as socialising and ‘free play’ during breaks.  Supervision is maintained by the inclusion of polycarbonate sections within the construction of the Treehouse.

 We repaired the old climbing wall and enhanced the space by replacing and extending the artificial grass surface with a shock pad laid beneath to account for critical fall height. 

We removed the old instruments and increased the useable space by laying artificial grass over the tarmac.  We built a bespoke oversized story telling chair with additional Robinia benches.  By having the grass and benches it allowed both small and large groups to utilise this story telling space.

Whilst providing elements that were requested, we also proposed creative additions to enhance the playground. With our proactive approach we transformed the rarely used raised seating areas into a relaxation net and Boules pit overlaying old rough tarmac with soft artificial grass.  These areas create a new space for quiet time, socialising and pupil interaction.

We introduced a new ‘Gaga Ball’ pit and stilts.  Gaga ball is an innovative approach to the popular dodgeball game but played within a confined space.  The stilts can be used in free play but also for spectating when Gaga Ball is being played. 

It was very important that we kept an overall coordinated feel to the total project by using similar materials throughout. A key part of this was the use of sustainable Robinia hardwood which offers a unique finish, keeping its naturally grown shape rather than machined straight timbers.  We also coordinated colour using the school’s logo of black and red to produce a playground that matches the beauty of the view and surrounding school buildings.

To finalise the project we laid wet pour to rejuvenate the remaining playground.

Before & after