Prairie Trails School was awarded a 2022 Merit Award by the Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ILASLA) for its natural playground.
The playground design was part of a recent renovation of the school that was completed in 2021. Among the playground’s amenities are a climbing wall, sand pits and outdoor learning spaces. The award was in a category that recognizes “quality and functionality of the design” and “environmental responsibility.”
“The Prairie Trails playground was transformed into a creative and engaging natural playground that extends learning outdoors,” ILASLA said in its announcement of the award. “From the outset of the project, the landscape architect worked closely with the school administrators, teachers and maintenance staff to create a space that would reintroduce children to the joys and possibilities of the natural world.”
Members of the ILASLA awards committee offered multiple reasons for their recognition of Prairie Trails, including that “there are a significant amount of amenities in a well laid-out design.” They also called the project “innovative” and added that it was a “maximized program with the budget.”
The school, Mount Prospect’s first net-zero energy building, serves the district’s pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. Partners on the playground project included TERRA Engineering, Natural Playgrounds Company, FGM Architects, Eriksson Engineering Associates, Nicholas & Associates, and Sebert Landscape.