In an effort to create a more holistic educational environment, Hoerr Schaudt is working with St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School to transform its urban cam pus into a place where students can learn, play, and connect with nature.

Following a substantial renovation effort that expanded and modernized its classroom spaces, St. Paul’s, a private day school in Kansas City’s Midtown neighborhood, directed their focus toward improving their outdoor spaces. The school recognized the important role that quality outdoor spaces in the development of children by encouraging active play and physical activity, exploration, social interaction, create settings for learning and contact with nature. To help realize this vision, the school engaged Hoerr Schaudt to develop a master plan for its four play areas, each serving a different age group of the student population.

Our team began the process by conducting a series of workshops with students, faculty, and parents to determine how the existing spaces were used and what program elements and activities would be desired as part of the campus revisioning effort. These interactive workshops were structured to allow each age group from the student body to have their own voice in the design process.

During the development of the plan options were presented and stakeholders had the opportunity to vote on the preferred schemes and accompanying design elements. Each of the four play areas was conceived according to a unique design theme tailored to appeal to the age groups that would serve as the primary users the space. The resulting design solutions sought to engage the use of color, dynamic and interactive play equipment, and the profuse use of nature as the defining characteristics of the approach. As the school phases implementation of the master plan over the upcoming years, the transformation of St. Paul’s urban campus into a holistic learning environment will be supported through the addition of these enriching outdoor learning and play spaces.