The Cornerstone School was built in 1972 and has been a resource for families for over 40 years providing a variety of services including an integrated early childhood program. After years of wear and tear, Cornerstone School was faced with an outdoor play space that had many challenges. Most significant were a worn and heaving playground surface, an aging play structure and the need for better playground fencing, all to improve safety and the children’s enjoyment of the playground. The school’s focus on serving children with a range of special needs and abilities created particular issues with the space, which lacked accessibility in a number of ways. Cornerstone was committed to re-modeling the playground, but lacked the funding to do so. In addition, they just weren’t sure where to begin! Cornerstone received an Early Learning Facility Planning Grant that allowed them to conduct a full safety audit on the space and to create a prioritized plan to redevelop the space into something that better met their needs.
With their plans in hand, Cornerstone applied for and received capital funding through RICCELFF to get their project underway. Renovations included site work to address drainage issues, installing appropriate surfacing, refurbishing the fencing, adding vehicular barriers to the perimeter of the playground, adding landscaping features, and having a custom climbing structure “Fish Shack” and accessible sandbox area built on site. Cornerstone School successfully leveraged additional community support with donations from the RI Tree Council and the local law office, Cameron and Mittleman, providing gorgeous playground plantings to enhance the space and add natural shade. With this work complete, the stage has been set for future phases of work which will include continued improvements to the site such as the addition of rolling planter boxes, water play features, and refurbished storage for materials and equipment. Congratulations to Cornerstone – who just had their official ribbon cutting – we were thrilled to play a role in the successful completion of this project!