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New playscape for Dover AFB
The new playscape for Eagle Park will be constructed by volunteers during a five-day build, with shifts running from 7:30 a.m. to noon and 12:30-5 p.m. Nov. 6-10, 2010. This new playscape is being built with a portion of the funds won from the Comander in Chief Excellence award. (U.S. Air Force courtesy image/Released)
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Dover AFB Family Gathering Park

Posted 10/27/2010   Updated 10/27/2010 Email story   Print story


436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

10/27/2010 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.  -- There's a saying, "it takes a village to raise a child." At Dover Air Force Base, the saying is being adapted to "it takes a community to raise a playground for the children."
According to Colonel Manson Morris, 436th Airlift Wing Commander, Team Dover is again coming together to do good things for children and families, this time in the form of a community-built park which will be constructed using a portion of the funds won during the Commander in Chief's Installation Excellence Award competition.

"The idea for the playground was born from the idea of The Year of the Air Force Family," said Chief Master Sergeant John Evalle, 436 Airlift Wing Command Chief. "We felt it was appropriate for Dover AFB to have a place where Team Dover members and their families could gather to strengthen our community."

The chief added, "We hired a nationally recognized architectural firm, Leathers and Associates, to design a park specifically for Dover Air Force Base which will be assembled, in part, by volunteers of Team Dover - a true community park."

"The [playscape's] design is quite unique because the base has huge transport planes flying in and out and we wanted to give the playground the feel of a transport aircraft," said Dennis Wille, one of the Leathers and Associates designers for the base's new park. "In fact, I took a tour of the base and a C-5 Galaxy just to have an idea of the various areas of the aircraft, such as where the flight crew sits, the passenger space and the fuselage area."

And while there have been playground designs that have incorporated airplanes, this is the first time Leathers and Associates has designed a playground where the entire area is airplane focused, added Mr. Wille.

The playground will actually have two specific areas - a large transport aircraft playscape and a control tower playscape. The overall design meets playground standards for children in two different age groups - 2-5 years and 6-12 years old developmentally, with the aircraft being designed with 6-12 years old in mind and the control tower area being focused on 2-5 years old, Mr. Wille said.

Within the aircraft playscape, play areas include a flight deck area for pretend play, a fuselage area which features a multi-level maze children can use to travel from one end to the other of the aircraft, and a cargo play area. The initial entry to the maze is at ground level allowing children in wheelchairs access to the maze to play and explore. And, because the playground conforms with the Americans with Disability Act, the multi-level areas are designed with accessible stepped platforms to allow access to all the play levels depending on a child's level of mobility, explained Mr. Wille.

The control tower playscape is also multi-level and includes a talk tube, which is a PVC pipe with mesh covered openings, to allow children in the control tower play area to talk with children in the flight deck, as well as communication between other areas of the playground, added Mr. Wille.

While the park is unique to the base, the entire playscape is designed to meet all American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards for accessibility and impact attenuation by means of a rubberized surfacing which will be under the playscape, according to Ms. Still, the 436 CES Project Lead. This special surface is designed to minimize chances of injury if a child falls.

Besides meeting safety standards, the new surface has a fun aspect - it will include a color variation to define the "runway" area of the surface under the aircraft playscape, Mr. Wille added.

"The entire playground project will be a fun and exciting undertaking for the base. Constructing this playground as a community-built project provides a great opportunity for all of Team Dover to make it a reality and to have ownership of the finished product," said Colonel Morris. "The excitement surrounding the new park is definitely contagious. From the chance for camaraderie and fellowship during construction to all of the enjoyment that this park will provide during the coming years, this project is yet another example of the excellence that Team Dover is known for every day."

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