Members of the Dunham community gathered for groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, March 29, to mark the beginning of construction for a new, state-of-the-art lower school playground.
Featuring new equipment, a large sportsplex, turf fields, multiple shaded zones, and a dedicated sensory area, the $650,000 project is expected to be completed by August of this year. In addition to upgrading play and recreational spaces, the new playground will allow the school to further meet the unique needs of younger students.
“We eagerly anticipate the lower school playground renovation because it will enhance our ability to educate thewhole child, not only academically, but physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually,” said Lower School Head Deedra LaPlace at yesterday’s ceremony. “These new and innovative play spaces will encourage children to exercise their minds, bodies, and imaginations. The playground plan includes inventive concepts, custom designs, and revolutionary products and equipment that make outdoor play educationally relevant, engaging, and fun!”
Head of School Steve Eagleton concurred, noting that it is important that the school’s facilities and exterior spaces continue to reflect the innovation and excellence that occurs daily in Dunham classrooms.
The playground project was made possible thanks to a generous lead gift from Kim and Mike Wampold, who were joined at the event by their children, Mik ’32 and Alder Rose ’34. “Kim and I are very excited aboutthis project, but I don’t think we are nearly as excited as our children, Mik and Alder Rose. We look forward to witnessing not only our kids, but many others, enjoying this playground for years to come and are glad to be a part of Dunham’s continued growth and expansion,” Mike Wampold said.
Other guests present at the groundbreaking included Dunham Board Chair Blair Gremillion; current board members Brad Dutruch, Corbin Ladner, Scott Quirk, Chris Hicks, and Scott Bardwell ‘91, who served as board chair from 2019 to 2022; former board member Princeton Bardwell; playground donor Charles Nunez; Director of Development Kelly DeRossette; Pelican Playgrounds representatives Leah Martino, Marie Bellows, and Lauren Knight; John Warner and Dennis Stewart from ForeverLawn Gulf South; lower school students; and other members the school's administration and development staff.
The new lower school playground will be the second project completed as part of a 15-year campus master plan approved by the Dunham board of trustees in accordance with our current strategic plan. “As a board, we have been preparing and planning for this. Hopefully, this playground will be the first of many projects completed as part of our strategic plan,” said Blair Gremillion.
More information about the school’s campus master plan and other proposed capital projects can be found here.