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As parents watch, students from the Academy for Advanced & Creative Learning (school building in background) play on the first iteration of the Forest Green @Pike Park, which includes this wood climbing wall. Landscaping and other features are in the works.
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Initial version of customized playground unveiled at Academy ACL

A slide down from a castle (which is eventually to be decorated with poles and flags) is part of the new Forest Green playground.
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March 27, 2018
       The customized playground at the Academy for Advanced & Creative Learning (AACL) had its “first opening” March 22… and there's more to come.
       Called Forest Green @Pike Park, the roughly one-acre area currently includes a “castle” and slide, wooden climbing wall and large mounds of dirt that are to be shaped into added features in the months ahead, along with trees, sod, a garden and a sprinkler system.
       The preliminary nature of the facility did not seem to deter scores of youngsters from the K-8 District 11 charter school before the March 22 ribbon cutting. They raced around the space, sometimes for the pure joy of going up one mound and down another.
       According to AACL Principal Nikki Myers, “several phases” lie ahead, which will expand on the “forest” areas already in place. The names of those areas stem mostly from books (Hundred Acre Wood - “Winnie the Pooh”; Sherwood Forest (stories of Robin
A view slightly to the left of the photo above shows the mound between the climbing wall (just out of view at far left) and castle.
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Hood); the Black Forest (a historical region of Germany); and the Shire, Lothlorien and Mirkwood (all from “The Lord of the Rings”).
       “Each division [defined grade levels] of students will be responsible for monitoring the plant life and structures in their forest area and brainstorming ecological solutions as needed,” states a flyer handed out at the event March 22.
       A "grand opening" for a more finished version of the playground is tentatively scheduled in August, the flyer adds.
       The "@Pike Park" part of the Forest Green name is a reference to Colorado Springs' Pike Park just north of the school (from which the city removed its playground equipment a few years ago).
       The school's project has been chiefly funded through internal fundraising and a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant. Much of the dirt (totaling
Academy ACL students have put some sweat equity into their new playground. The photo above was taken about two weeks before the "first opening" March 22.
Courtesy of Academy ACL
about 800 tons) was donated by area contractors and individuals.
       Forest Green's eventual total cost is estimated at $216,000.
       When AACL started in 2010, it inherited older equipment from the site's original school, Pike Elementary. The customized-park plan evolved over the past two-plus years, through the efforts of staff, parents and students in conjunction with the Natural Playground Company, headquartered in New England, which is also handling the construction.
       “Please enjoy this new space with us!” the flyer states, adding a request for people to report any vandalism to the police or the school (434-6566).

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(Schools: Elementary/Middle)

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