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Robert H. Down Elementary Landscape Master Plan
A landscape master plan document was developed for Robert H. Down Elementary School (RHD), located in the central California coastal town of Pacific Grove. It addresses the school campus’ need to utilize its outdoor spaces more efficiently, upgrade their play equipment, and solve site storm- water issues. To understand all the issues, OJ-LA interviewed key staff and initiated two design workshops. RHD Site Committee, faculty, staff and parents participated in a workshop which identified campus issues and opportunities by annotating maps and selected campus images. Concurrently, selected students were invited to participate in a playground thinking workshop which involved making a model of their “ideal” playground or play activity. These events were successful in that issues, opportunities, and ideas were generated from all types of stakeholders in a short amount of time and it was fun! This facilitated the development of conceptual ideas for the landscape master plan which included new playgrounds, outdoor learning spaces, more efficient circulation, redevelopment of the outdoor lunch area, integration of habitat gardens, raised garden planters for the children, natural play opportunities, and connecting the school campus with the Monterey Bay. Stormwater management solutions proposed include rainwater harvesting, subsurface stormwater detention, retrofitting irrigation systems for non-potable water, removing lawn areas, pervious paving, flow-through planters, and bioswales.
During this process we learned that the Greenwood Gulch runs through the RHD site in a large culvert, and continues under the building downhill. The school is excited to showcase the gulch in such a way that the students and community alike can learn about the effects of watershed and the downhill influences at the outfall level. The landscape master plan serves as a tool in allocating school funds and donations to specific projects. OJ-LA has developed an opinion of probably costs for the play equipment and developed a cost estimate for the redevelopment of the outdoor lunch area.