Mekeel Childcare Center

After years of cramped space in a “temporary” building, this Toddler through Preschool center had it’s own new building and new space for playscapes. Hooray! However, the architects and university had already spec’d out a traditional piece of playground equipment to fill the space when director Michelle Hoffman and I began talking. She knew she wanted something beautiful, natural and unique so she fought hard and finally convinced the univerisity to change their plans and go ahead with a natural playscape, built by the community.

East Stroudsburg is situated in the Pocono Mountain range of Pennsylvania and the Appalacian Trail even threads it’s way through town. We wanted to capture the feeling of the area so we looked at local rustic architecture, plant life, topography and local artists. We created a lean-to hideout, a giant sand play area with cedar-shingled playhouses connected (for easy mudpie makings), a push-button water tower that sends a trickle of water through a volunteer-made “mini-waterfall” embedded with marbles and glittery surprises, two hill slides, a shade trellis, and an arts stage with a beautiful mosaic mural as its backdrop.