Designer unveils proposals for Sumner School Playground

Today, Icon Parks Design, the landscape architecture firm selected by the Boston Facilities Department to design the new play spaces at the the Charles Sumner Elementary School, unveiled three site proposals. This marks a major milestone for the Sumner, which has been undergoing more limited playground expansion planning for several years and endured arson of its previous play structure in 2015.  All three proposals envision a major expansion of the play area via redesigns of four outdoor spaces in the schoolyard:

  • The main play area behind the school, the site of the previous play structure
  • The side lot adjacent to the kindergarten classrooms, currently in use as a paved play area
  • The underused evacuation pathway to Cummins Highway
  • The small yards adjacent to the main entrance, which will be redesigned as “pocket” play areas

For each design option below, click on the overview image to see a detailed plan.

Design A


Design B


Design C


Design Process

The final design will attempt to satisfy a diverse set of constituents and needs, including space for free play, an outdoor classroom, active play equipment, a new Cummins “gateway,” and community usage. Although Roslindale Wants to Play has successfully advocated for playground improvements at Fallon Field, Healy Field, and Pagel Playground, Roslindale Square itself still lacks high quality play equipment. This redesign offers an opportunity to add the Sumner School’s grounds to the community resources that provide meaningful access to play. This need has previously been acknowledged by anonymous donors who, via the Boston Foundation, have responded to proposals prepared by Roslindale Wants to Play and the Sumner School Parent Council by awarding $100,000 in grants to redevelop the school’s playgrounds.

Despite funding from both Boston Public Schools and private donors, budget constraints and the small campus (a particular challenge for a school that educates more than 600 students) will ultimately require prioritization of elements. We encourage everyone with an interest in play in Roslindale to view the proposals and send their feedback to James Sessum at Boston Facilities Department.






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