New Playground Built Behind Francis Scott Key Elementary Middle School

| January 11, 2024 | 0 Comments

A new playground has been constructed in the play area behind Francis Scott Key Elementary Middle School (FSK) in Locust Point. The playground is a result of FSK Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) fundraising and a new committee tasked with improving the outdoor facilities at the school.

“When students were coming back into the building in early 2021, the PTO understood they’d be using the outdoors in different ways,” said PTO President Talley Kovacs. This led to the creation of the Outdoor and Facilities committee and fundraising pushes by the PTO’s Annual Giving Campaign (AGC).

Members of the Outdoor and Facilities committee are Chairs Nicole Buchholz and Laurie Davidow. Members include Talley Kovacs, Suz Kashnow, Kevin Gaughan, and Emily Jones.

Last year, a new playground was constructed at the front of the school and this year the focus was on improvements to the back of the school. The PTO worked with students and teachers and staff to design the playground in the back of the school.

“Kids wanted to spin, climb, and swing,” said Kovacs.

The PTO also wanted to provide spaces for the middle schoolers to sit and socialize under natural shade elements.

Gaughan, who is an FSK parent and owner of landscape architecture firm FORM Garden Design, offered landscaping design services pro bono.

The new playground has a merry-go-round, climbing equipment, and a funnel ball hoop. Cloud 9 Swings, which have been delayed due to supply chain issues, are coming soon.

The playground also has a timber perimeter, large rocks for sitting, and mature trees.

Large soccer goals on wheels have been ordered as well. The school backs up to the sports fields at Latrobe Park that are used for soccer, baseball, and softball.

The new playground is adjacent to the future site of the Locust Point Community Garden, which is also being designed by Gaughan.

The PTO also recently had five more pieces of equipment installed at the front playground for two- to five-year-olds. The fence around the front playground was damaged due to pick-up games of soccer, so the extra equipment also limits the space for soccer in this area. The fence will be repaired soon.

This year the AGC raised approximately $55,000 from individual and corporate donations. This follows $60,000 raised last year. The school also received a capital grant from the State of Maryland for $30,000 and has a five-year MOU with 28 Walker, the developer of the adjacent Banner Row townhomes, which provides the school $40,000 per year.

An upcoming project for the PTO is a large mural being installed on the exterior wall of the gymnasium that faces the new playground. The mural is being funded by a State of Maryland art grant.

The PTO also recently made improvements to the yoga room in the school, which was previously a computer lab.

For next year, one of the projects the PTO is looking to fund is a basketball hoop lowering system in the gymnasium.

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